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3 High-Paying Industries For Entry-Level Jobs In 2024

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With graduation season already underway, many would-be professionals are wondering how to kick off their careers to a brilliant start.

Some decide that pursuing a master’s degree would make the best choice.

Others opt for plunging themselves directly into work of any kind, just to ensure they are able to stay afloat, adjust to the rising cost of living, and pay off their college debts.

Some, like you if you’re reading this article, are eager to get started in a job that will turn into an extremely lucrative career over the long-term.

But just what is the best way to approach career planning at such a delicate stage in one’s career development?

What To Consider In An Entry-Level Job

While making money the priority should not be your primary career goal (because chasing money never makes anyone truly happy or feeling fulfilled), it still helps to know what industries are thriving and offering the highest salaries to entry-level professionals right now, so you can make an informed decision that takes into account salaries, growth potential, and career satisfaction.

You should think about industry potential and evaluate the demand and projected demand, using resources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can also compare salary potential by checking out salary comparison platforms on Salary.com.

You should also bear in mind that you do not need to feel limited to any one industry or sector. There are many industries, which in themselves, are functions of other industries.

For example, with the project management industry, you can be versatile with your career choices and decide to work directly in the industry (for example at a project consulting firm) or you can opt to work in the healthcare, technology, construction, or financial sector.

It’s perfectly normal and OK to start your career within one industry and then decide to make a career pivot and take your transferable skills to a similar industry or even another sector.

With all that in mind as you prepare to launch your career this year, here are three of the highest-paying industries/sectors that you might want to consider for launching your career in 2024. This industries are well-known for offering attractive and competitive salaries to graduates and early career-starters, and their industry projection is very promising, with many going on to establish more lucrative and fulfilling career paths within these sectors and industries.

1. Software Engineering/Software Development

The technology sector continues to grow at a rapid pace, with software developers alone making up the largest share of mathematical and technology occupations in May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Overall employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032. About 377,500 openings are projected each year, on average, in these occupations due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupations permanently,” the BLS website said.

At the entry-level, software engineers and developers can make as much as $80,000 a year, while with career progression, they can make up to $187,000 and $135,000 respectively.

Average salary range for software developer: $114,013 to $135,979

Average salary range for software engineer: $72,090 to $187,360

2. Engineering

Engineering is a broad field that encompasses industries such as petroleum, aerospace, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering. These all offer lucrative entry-level salaries, and provide practical hands-on experience with strong career progression pathways. For example, petroleum engineers can make up to $118,779 a year.

Average salary range: $70,450 to $177,770

3. Management Consulting

Although some of the larger management consulting firms are experiencing a decline in client projects and new business, management consultants, or management analysts as the BLS calls it, are still experiencing significant growth in demand, with a projected 10% increase in jobs over the next few years.

“The management consulting industry was valued at roughly one trillion U.S. dollars in 2023,” says Statista. “The market value of the industry peaked in 2022 and was expected to grow to an even higher figure in 2024. The industry also reached its first evaluation of more than one trillion dollars in 2022.”

This is a very promising field for new graduates to work for companies seeking fresh talent, with entry-level consultants making more than $80,000 out of college. There is also strong career progression towards a partner or director role in this field.

Average salary range: $75,814 to $141,431

Remember, you don’t need to stick with one specific industry. You can start your career at the entry-level within one of the above industries, and as your experience and skills evolve, decide to transition to a similar role or industry, or even become a self-employed freelancer within any of these fields. Ultimately, the question comes down to you, what your long-term goals are, and what you want to get out of your entry-level job.

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