If you’re looking for high-paying business jobs/careers, this list will help you immediately.
We’re going to cover 8 of the highest-paying jobs you can get with a business degree (or even without) so that you can pick the right business career and earn more.
Average salary (sales manager): $102,816 (according to Payscale.com)
Sales is one of the best careers you can aim for if you have a business background.
The base salary is just the start. I’ve seen salespeople bringing home seven figures per year.
One reason sales is such a lucrative career is because you can earn commissions on each sale you make. If you’re good, the sky’s the limit for your earnings.
Many other salespeople earn comfortable high-six-figure incomes.
Even if you’re not aiming for the stratosphere, the average median salary for a sales manager is $127,490, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You don’t only have to take on pure-commission gigs, either. Plenty of sales jobs pay base salaries of $50K-60K.
In fact, I recommend you avoid jobs that only pay commission, as these can often be scams.
By the way, your business background will come in handy in any sales position.
That’s because the best-paying sales jobs are business-to-business (B2B). With business experience, you have a leg up on other candidates when convincing companies to hire you.
You know what that means: Use your business knowledge to sell yourself as the best candidate.
If you’re the type who likes to work from home, you’ll like that many inside sales jobs are fully remote. (Inside salespeople contact prospects via phone and email instead of traveling and meeting face-to-face.)
And not only can sales make you a pretty penny, but working in sales is also an incredible springboard to whatever else you might want to do in the business world. Some of the best entrepreneurs today started off in sales.
Average salary: $90,495 (according to Payscale.com)
Among the highest-paying jobs for business, management consultant might be one of the most interesting.
Put simply, the role of a management consultant is to solve problems. Wherever companies need to improve performance or operations, that’s where they need your analysis and recommendations the most.
If you’re still a student, you may be in luck: Many consulting firms find hires from undergraduate programs and business schools.
Many firms also hire professionals with already-established careers as well. If that’s you, see if you can get advice from someone in your network who’s in management consulting.
This role might be ideal for you if you’re strong at analyzing data and creating comprehensive narratives of where a company needs improvement.
Your role will involve conducting business studies, using mathematical modeling to make predictions, creating marketing plans, and more.
You’ll need social skills as well; interviewing employees and presenting your findings to executives comes part and parcel.
If you’re the type of person who likes a fresh challenge, you’ll like that you get to work with different companies (basically, whoever needs help from your firm).
At the same time, management consulting is notorious for long hours, lots of traveling, and heavy stress from having to meet tight deadlines.
If you’re not too rattled by those, though, you could find management consulting to be your perfect career.
Median annual wage: $94,500 (according to BLS.gov)
The project manager is exactly what it sounds like: You shepherd projects through from start to finish.
You’re in charge of the daily operations of the various people and teams assigned to work on your particular project(s).
When I worked as a tech recruiter, I regularly saw project managers make $150,000 or above in base salary. Of course, this was in New York City, which pays far above the national average, but it still gives you a sense of how much qualified candidates can earn for this role.
In your role, you’ll make sure each project is completed on time, according to specifications, and within the allotted budget.
This career is an especially good pick if you’re an ace with planning and organization. Since the job entails directing team members toward a goal, your communication skills need to be top-notch, too.
Luckily, if you have a business background, you likely have all of those bases covered.
You can get into project management with just a bachelor’s degree; for example, a business management degree is a fine choice.
If you already have experience organizing projects to completion, you may qualify for a project management position right away.
Otherwise, you might want to build up your experience slowly, taking on leadership roles for projects within each of your jobs.
Don’t feel like you have to be trapped in an office to be a project manager. Many project management jobs can be done 100% remotely, as long as you’re prompt with your communication.
Median annual wage: $135,030 (according to BLS.gov)
I actually got my start in freelancing as a digital marketer.
And, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a really good choice as both a side hustle and a full-time career.
As a marketing manager, you plan and direct marketing campaigns to sell more of your company’s products or services.
That may involve skills like monitoring social media engagement, working with budgets, and collaborating with different teams to bring campaigns to fruition.
You can get your foot in the door with just a bachelor’s degree — specifically one in marketing or a related field like business.
But your marketing skills are the most important factor. You want to show potential employers that you have a firm grasp on important areas of digital marketing.
That might include SEO, content marketing, paid media, social media, and more.
The good news is there are very clear paths to gaining experience in digital marketing. Here are some of the best places to learn.
Not only is marketing remote-friendly, but it’s also a lucrative career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a marketing manager is $135,030.
It’s pretty easy to see why: When you can generate attention for a company and thereby produce revenue, you become indispensable.
And since marketing, especially digital marketing, is such a fast-evolving field (each year we see new market trends) you’re unlikely to see employers requiring an advanced degree for this type of position.
In this field, real-world experience is seen as being more important than a college degree by many employers… especially when it comes to start-up businesses.
Median annual wage: $103,650 (according to U.S. News & World Report)
Business operations managers (BOM) often describe themselves as the “jack of all trades” — in a good way, of course.
As a BOM, you have insight into many different areas of the company, from on-the-ground teams to the C-suite.
In many ways, you’re a type of internal consultant. You identify areas where your company can be more efficient, and you help streamline current processes.
At the same time, you function similarly to a project manager. With your communication skills, you get to know many different people in the organization and create alignment among teams.
This is a great business career if you don’t really want to specialize, but rather have your hands in many exciting projects at a time.
BOMs commonly have bachelor’s degrees in business administration. Different companies will have different requirements, and some may look for an MBA.
A good way to start your path to becoming a BOM is by aiming for entry-level management positions. In particular, build your experience with improving company processes and helping teams work smoothly.
And just in case you’re wondering: Remote BOM positions are very common. So, they’re perfect if you prefer to collaborate with colleagues from home.
Average annual salary (hedge fund analyst): $132,579 (according to Comparably.com)
When researching the salaries for financial analyst roles, you’ll find salaries across a vast range.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary is $63,195, whereas the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says it’s $81,410.
Keep in mind these figures are for financial analysts at all sorts of companies and corporations, so your pay depends highly on the industry and type of role you land.
In this role, you’ll gather and analyze data, build forecasts, and present your recommendations to leadership to help the company deploy capital wisely and make the right financial decisions.
That makes this position a good choice if you have a business degree.
For the highest-paying jobs, aim for analyst positions in the financial industry, such as hedge funds. An average hedge fund analyst’s salary is $132,579, according to Comparably.com.
As a hedge fund analyst, you’ll help your firm make strong investments by generating investment ideas, building financial models, studying trends, keeping track of current positions, and more.
If you want to go that route, make sure you’re deeply passionate about investing. You should be someone who trades on your own and/or follows the markets closely.
You may also want to look into getting a certification, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
The implication is clear: If you want to make the biggest bucks, you’ll need to go above and beyond.
Average annual salary (senior business intelligence analyst): $105,737 (according to Comparably.com)
If you’re the analytical type, you might enjoy a career as a business intelligence (BI) analyst.
A BI analyst works with data — and lots of it. Your job is to gather data, analyze it, and prepare reports about it.
The ultimate goal is to help other people in your company make better business decisions.
When I worked as a tech recruiter, we had a team of 5 recruiters, and one BI analyst who supported our team (as well as other teams).
He’d come to us with valuable data, charts, and conclusions from our past work. Which clients (employers) were paying us the most money? Which jobs were we able to fill fastest, and therefore earn the most from?
Our BI analyst in this company was in his 20s and was earning six figures.
A bachelor’s degree — in business administration, for example — is sufficient in terms of formal education. But you may want to pursue a master’s degree in business analytics for an advantage over the competition.
Also, consider building your experience in database management and programming languages (Python is common), both of which will help you stand out. At the minimum, be comfortable/advanced in Excel.
Since your job revolves around data, the business intelligence analyst role is well-suited to remote work, too.
Average salary: $90,419 (according to Payscale.com)
Next on our list of highest-paying business jobs is the quintessential position for a “people person”: the human resources (HR) manager.
After all, that’s exactly what the position entails. You’ll be the point person for your company’s recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of talent. You’ll also make sure current staff is kept up to date on training.
You’ve got to be able to keep a clear head. There are always snags when it comes to employees, payroll, benefits, and paperwork. You’ll be tasked with cutting through the confusion and making accurate personnel decisions.
You can get your foot in the door with a business degree, but many companies will want to see five years of recruiting or general HR experience before entrusting you with a managerial role.
To build your resume for the position, burnish your credentials in recruiting — for example, as an HR specialist or agency recruiter.
If you’re the type who likes to work from home, you’ll like that HR positions are increasingly becoming remote or hybrid.
What’s more, there’s a lot of room to grow salary-wise: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for HR managers is $126,230.
It’s quite possible to land a business job without a business degree. Many business jobs require training and on-the-job experience, but are open to people who do not have a business degree.
And many companies in the business field simply look for any type of bachelor’s degree in the candidates they hire.
I sat next to two top-tier salespeople in a job early in my career. Their degrees were in English and History. Both earned more than a million dollars per year, mainly from sales commissions, from selling business telecommunication services.
You’ll also find marketing managers, operations managers, and other business professionals without a formal business degree.
However, some business jobs do require a degree in a certain field. Most financial and accounting positions will want to see you hold that degree, or at least a general business degree.
You’re going to want a degree in accounting or finance if the job involves analyzing financial reports, for example.
Some management analysts and management consultants will also benefit from having a business degree, to understand a business’s profit & loss and other statements before making recommendations as a consultant.
So, when it comes to the question of whether you need to be a business major to land a business job, it’s a mixed bag, but I’d say that more than 50% of business jobs do not require a degree in business.
In fact, you’ll find some employers don’t require any bachelor’s degree for some of the above jobs. It simply depends on the individual company and industry.
You’ll still find that most large businesses look for some type of bachelor’s degree in the people they hire, but often, any degree is enough to get your foot in the door… whether business or otherwise.
Once hired, you’ll receive all of the on-the-job training you need to begin a high-paid business career.
For almost all of the highest-paying business jobs we’ve covered, you’re better off getting an entry-level role as quickly as possible and building real-world skills, rather than pursuing a master’s degree right away.
So new business graduates who just earned a bachelor’s degree should almost always begin their job search, not pursue more education.
You can even find an employer to pay for you to pursue your master’s degree in the future!
But one of the biggest mistakes I see is new graduates being unsure what they want to do, or struggling to find a job, and then thinking that simply staying in school and getting a graduate degree is a smart solution. You don’t need more education.
If you’ve read the list above, you now know the highest-paying occupations in the business world.
Remember that it’s also critical for job seekers to play to their strengths, though. So don’t just look at the salaries above; think about where your strengths and interests lie.
That’s where you’ll have a greater impact on a company’s success and therefore earn more (through promotions, raises, etc.)
Top executives in all areas of business are paid well, and you’ll only reach that top level by enjoying and performing well in your day-to-day work.
We left executive positions off of this list since most of those positions take 10-20+ years to obtain, but rest assured that all business executives are highly paid, from operations leaders to finance executives.
So use the salary range info above as a general guideline, but also choose a career where you’ll enjoy the daily work and genuinely want to build a skill set, since that’s how you’ll maximize efficiency and career growth.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.