The 6 best industries for high salaries in 2020

Though there is plenty we can all agree-to-disagree on, there are some aspects of life that are quite universal. In fact, if you ask any professional if they’d like to make more money, the answer will most likely be a resounding ‘Yes, please!’. It’s possible to find a lucrative salary in nearly any career but there are some industries that are full of more promise than others in the decade to come. From space to brand marketing, if you’ve considered making a pivot, now is the time to invest in resources and education. How come? As we get further into the 2020s, the stiffer competition will become. 

Here, a look at the most promising industries for high salaries. 


Ballpark salary range: $115K and up. 

When you consider the space industry, you may have visions of NASA and immediately return to the concept of your dream gig of becoming an astronaut as a child. There’s far more that goes into the exploration into the great unknown, including everything from the government to private sector and even big thinkers with thick pockets. As Kristin Libby, the EVP of Future Science and Research for Hypergiant Industries explains, the next ten years will see much progression and development into not only scientific research but the quest to send everyday-humans to space, too. “Space is a booming field expected to be worth $500B+ in 2026,” she continues. “This means we are going to see rapid growth in commercialization and there are going to be new and expansive opportunities for people who are curious, passionate about the future of humanity and big idea thinkers.” 

Data Science

Ballpark salary: $160K and up.

There’s a difference between being able to read and report on numbers, and actually digesting and recommending strategies that help a business overcome hurdles or make moves. The latter is what will be in demand in the 2020s, according to founder and CEO of Creative Niche, Mandy Gilbert. This is widely considered the field of ‘data science’ and Gilbert describes the gigs within this sector as a step up from an analyst. In basic job-description terms, data scientists are part-mathematician, part-scientist and part-transcribers. “They spend their days solving complex problems for businesses with data-driven solutions. With the majority of businesses requiring more data-driven initiatives than ever before, this an extremely in-demand role,” she explains. 

Artificial Intelligence

Ballpark salary: $150K and up.

More than just Alexa, Google and Siri, AI is an exploding field that’s ripe with opportunity across various skill sets. As Libby explains, many people forget how much goes into the development of artificial intelligence, and jobs range from research and development to design, and even ethics. “There are also a growing number of roles for people who are non-technical in large part because the industry is continuing to change and we are learning that the path to Artificial Super Intelligence requires an enormous amount of cross discipline work,” she explains. “So there will be jobs for scientists, and humanities, and big idea thinkers. What makes someone very successful will ultimately be there ability to be creative, imaginative and insightful.”

Consider yourself warned if you pursue this field though, since Libby says it requires you to be deeply curious and willing to change on a moment’s notice. In other words: the risk-averse need-not-apply. “This is not a job for people who want to be comfortable and embrace the status quo. It’s a job profession for dreamers,” she shares.

Growth Marketing 

Ballpark salary: $150K and up. 

In the past ten years, there has been a huge shift in the way customers shop. Whether it’s the reservation they’re booking for an anniversary dinner, the clothes they invest in, the services they subscribe to or the airline they become a loyalty member of, nearly every choice is made online. And to attract clients, keep their attention and understand what motivates them to action, growth marketers are an essential part of doing business in the 2020s. That’s why Gibson says it’ll be a killer career to build in the years to come. “With a primary responsibility to create innovative and effective tactics to grow the business, growth marketers build out specific plans to increase customer acquisition and drive sales,” she continues. “With sales numbers always in mind, they must analyze conversion funnels, identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to capitalize on these opportunities. To be successful in this field, candidates must be creative, highly analytical, forward-thinking, and problem solvers.”

Climate Change

Ballpark salary: $130K and up. 

Caveat here: salaries within the massive field of ‘climate change’ will vary greatly. Working in the government space is vastly different than leading a revolutionary company that solves some of the environmental issues challenging Mother Nature. Depending on which route you take, you can expect to not only be paid well but also feel good about the impact your work will have on the planet today…. And for generations to come. At an executive level, Libby says CTOs we will see a growing number of people who are focusing their efforts 50 percent or more on this space, and more people at the executive level who will be required to have a strong working knowledge of what is happening in the climate space and across the industry. “Specific jobs also include people who can develop thought-leadership, CSR plans, and business strategy plans that limit the impact of the environment,” she continues. “This field requires a huge amount of collaboration and understanding of various systems. It requires people who are big multi-disciplinary thinkers who can activate by building coalitions and community. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone and we shouldn’t have to.”

Internal Brand Strategist

Ballpark salary: $140K and up. 

As millennials rule the workforce and those under them are defining what matters to them, all companies must shift traditional mentalities to remain competitive. After all, what lured in top talent ten years ago isn’t the same motivator in current hires. That’s why Gibson says internal brand strategist will play an integral role in retention in the 2020s. Since they have their hand in everything from marketing and strategy to HR and talent, they help spin the right message and build the most effective systems to keep workers happy.