The 10 highest paid jobs in the UK…and how to get one

THE professions with the largest salaries according to the The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have been revealed for 2016, placing medical practitioners, in-house lawyers and pilots among the top ten highest earners in the UK. 

10. Financial institution managers and directors

This category also includes bank managers or insurance managers who typically earn £75,169 before tax. According to the figures, people in this profession can earn as little as £29,530 and as much as £91,543 per year. 

Despite being among the top 10, banks are currently trying to cut their costs meaning the salaries of those in these jobs are actually down on last year by 8.2%, which equates to over £6,000 a year. 

But if you’re still keen on pursuing a career in banking, you just need a few years experience in the banking or the financial sector and you must also be an “approved person”.  That means passing the Financial Conduct Authority’s fit and proper test.

9.  IT and communication directors

With these professionals in short supply, the salaries of technical directors of computer services rocketed by 9% this year, putting their earnings at on average £78,071 before tax.

The lowest wage for anyone in these jobs is over £40,000, but they have the potential to earn over double that, with the highest IT and communication director salary at £84,306. 

8. Medical practitioners

Despite increasing patient demand, there has been a 2.5% dip in the salaries of surgeons, anaesthetists, hospital consultants, GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists and radiologists – who are paid anything from £30,291 to £132,613, with an average pay of £78,386. 

To be a medical practitioner you’d have to firstly have a university degree from a medical school recognised by the General Medical Council, followed by a year’s training and two years’ post graduate specialist training. 

7. Air traffic controllers

Air traffic assistants and flight planners earn on average £81,132 before tax, which has increased by 3.8% from last year’s figures. The salaries of these professionals are so high due to the amount of lives they are responsible for at one given time. 

Despite the huge amount of responsibility involved with being an air traffic controller, the job only requires 5 GCSE’s and a valid air traffic controller’s licence. 

6. In-house Lawyers

This category of high earners includes attorneys and legal consultants who can earn up to £94,458 and on average make £80,210 a year before tax. 

Following a decline in the amount of in-house vacancies, these law professionals also saw a 1.1% decline in pay as well. A law degree or post-graduate diploma and an legal practice course (LPC) as well as a two-year training contract is essential for anyone looking to enter these professions.  

5. Financial managers and directors 

A completely different ball game to the tenth top earners, especially as the those in this profession have the potential to earn up to £104,849 before tax. 

Their salaries have increased by £2.4% over the past year, reflecting the concerns of businesses owners pre-Brexit. Now, businesses are looking for highly-skilled professionals who can not just balance the books but also identify risks and opportunities as well. 

To enter these jobs, you must have a relevant degree and a recognised accountancy or corporate finance qualification from a professional accountancy body, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, or the ACCA. 

4. Aircraft pilots
This includes other jobs as well as pilots including first officers of airlines, flight engineers, flying instructors and helicopter pilots. 

Their average pay is £86,915 and ranges from £68,354 up to £89,928 per year. This is down slightly due to the increase in budget airlines and therefore reduced wages. 

To go into any of these jobs, good GCSEs in maths, English, science and a second language and at least two good A-levels is required along with a Class 1 medical certificate, a private pilot licence with 170 hours of flight time under your belt, a commercial pilot licence, which typically costs more than £100,000 and takes two years. You also must build up 1,500 flying hours to fully qualify as a commercial pilot. 

3. Marketing Directors 

On average marketing directors and sales directors earn £87,890, which is down by 2.5% following efficiency cuts. People in these jobs can however earn up to £110,010 once they’ve got a degree, a year’s experience as a marketing or sales manager and maybe a qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing as well. 

2. Chief Executives

This also includes chief medical officers, vice-presidents and civil servants (grade 5 or above) who have an average pay of £123,577. Some even earn £142,686 a year. 

To justify earning this kind of money, the chief executive must demonstrate outstanding performance in their job and also must have the standard requirements of any other person in that role, which includes years of relevant experience, a strong track record of good business decisions and an MBA and/or a financial qualification might help.

1. Brokers

The highest earners in the UK are the brokers – and this includes stockbrokers, traders on the stock exchange, foreign exchange dealers, and insurance brokers who earn on average £133,868. 

Their salaries have increased by 6.2% however The Wealth Management Association declined to offer any reason for this increase in pay. 

Whilst there are no formal academic requirements to be a broker, many companies will require you to have a degree or equivalent qualification.