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Three industries that can earn you big bucks

Are you hoping to earn a big salary? Whichever industry you’re in, working your way up the career ladder into management is almost guaranteed to get you a higher wage. But some industries simply pay better than others. If money makes your world go round, are you in the right industry?

The top five highest paying industries, according to Seek, are:

  1. Information and communication technology
  2. Engineering
  3. Mining, resources and energy
  4. Legal
  5. Accounting.

Let’s find out some more about three of Seek‘s top-paying industries.



Consulting and strategy

What does it involve?

Consultants communicate and collaborate with clients in private sector businesses, governments, not for profits and professional associations. They prepare deliverables including business cases, project plans and change management plans. The job is ‘largely about solving problems, providing insights and finding solutions for clients,’ says Dr Jeff Chamberlain, lecturer in Deakin’s Faculty of Business and Law.

‘Strategy is essentially about what an organisation does to achieve its goals,’ he continues. ‘It involves thinking (about connecting the organisational vision to some goals), then planning (ways to achieve those goals) and then management (during the implementation of those plans). Consultants can be called in to assist at any of those points.’

What skills and interests do you need?

Important skills include: ‘excellent written and oral (including presentation) communications, strong emotional intelligence and an ability to embrace wide ranging perspectives and circumstances and then methodically analyse these to find best fit solutions,’ Prof. Chamberlain says.

Consulting and strategy appeals to those interested in thinking deeply and solving problems. Do you see yourself in any of the below points? If yes, consulting and strategy might be for you.

  • Enjoy communicating and collaborating with people at all levels in organisations.
  • Comfortable with inconsistent routine.
  • Enjoy complexity.
  • Enjoy being organised.
  • Interested in business and organisational machinations.
  • Interested in technology.

What are the pros and cons?

‘The classic positive for working in consulting is the variety of work that you’ll do,’ Dr Chamberlain says. ‘Typically, no two jobs are the same – every business is different and people in them have a range of personalities that make for very different experiences.’ Good consultants never stop learning – about both themselves and about the organisations with which they work.

But on the flipside, this work often comes with long hours and sometimes working far from home. ‘There is a sense of urgency to the work of consultants and this translates into long hours to produce quality deliverables rapidly. This can induce stress for some,’ Dr Chamberlain says. You’ll need personal resilience and a strong understanding of your own limits.

Imagining yourself as a strategy consultant? Consider studying business at Deakin.




What does it involve?

Engineers are practical problem solvers that can be employed in a diverse range of projects, says Ian Gibson, Professor of Industrial Design in Deakin’s School of Engineering. Engineers can specialise in areas including civil, mechanical, environmental, electrical and frontier materials.

When it comes to earning the big bucks in engineering, it’s all about time and experience, he says. ‘There are plenty of technical experts around, but managerial jobs are essential for ensuring that the focus is maintained and that the projects are handled effectively. Since most engineering problems are multidisciplinary in nature, having someone who has seen similar projects through to completion and thus tying the loose ends together is very important.’

What skills and interests do you need?

‘Maths and science are important prerequisites. If someone is not interested in those, then stay away,’ Prof. Gibson warns. The type of engineering you choose will depend on the skills required – so Prof. Gibson suggests it’s best to make your choice based on your interests rather than academic abilities. ‘A capacity to think in a deep, focused manner is good for one type of engineer, whilst an open mind is good for another,’ he explains.

In addition, Prof. Gibson believes understanding business and entrepreneurship can be important for successful engineers.

What are the pros and cons?

After getting their first break into the industry, engineers often find the job market relatively stable, Prof. Gibson says. ‘It is very rewarding but it is quite demanding,’ he adds. ‘Often there are opportunities to travel, but not necessarily to the most attractive of places.’

In addition, although much is being done to support women in engineering, many still struggle. Prof. Gibson believes the issue often stems from ‘misconceptions surrounding job descriptions’.

Fancy a future in engineering? Check out Deakin’s range of engineering courses.



Information and communication technology

What does it involve?

IT underpins every industry sector, from mining to manufacturing to agriculture, says Associate Professor Robin Doss, Deputy Head of Deakin’s School of Information Technology. ‘IT also presents a wide range of careers from the creative (animation, VR design) to the more technical (networking, application development, security) to the innovative and entrepreneurial. There are great opportunities across the IT industry be it in software engineering or cyber security or analytics,’ Assoc. Prof. Doss says. Seek’s research indicates that the Information and Communication Technology industry has grown by 7.3% since 2013.

One job opportunity in IT is as an IT architect, which involves designing IT systems and services for organisations. ‘At the enterprise level, they drive the infrastructure, software, data and technology alignment with business processes and consumer applications,’ Assoc. Prof. Doss says. IT managers are responsible for implementing and maintaining these systems for organisations. ‘Their role is critical in ensuring that there is no disruption to the business.’

What skills and interests do you need?

IT is best-suited to those who are inherently curious, have an innovative mindset and are open to change. ‘IT is a dynamic and fast-moving field with the technology landscape rapidly evolving,’ Assoc. Prof. Doss explains.

Developing strong technical skills is a must in IT. Assoc. Prof. Doss advises developing both ‘breadth and depth’: ‘A broad understanding of the IT landscape with strong technical skills in at least one IT specialist area and most importantly how IT aligns with business needs and strategies.’

Interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work in diverse team environments are also critical in IT.

What are the pros and cons?

IT is a dynamic and rapidly evolving, innovative industry with great entrepreneurial prospects.

‘IT is core to business/industry so there will always be demand for IT professionals,’ Assoc. Prof. Doss points out. In addition, since IT is a global industry, professionals are sought-after all over the world.

However, working in high-pressure environments can be a downside for IT professionals. ‘IT is now a business risk so there can be serious fallouts and consequences to mistakes,’ Assoc. Prof Doss explains.

Like the sound of working in IT? Check out Deakin’s range of IT courses.

It’s not all about the money

Salary will become more important as your career progresses, even if it’s not your number one priority starting out in a first job. That’s what data from the Australian Association of Graduate Employers suggests. But it’s important not to let yourself get blinded by dollars, warns Gavin Walker, Graduate Recruitment Services Manager at Deakin University. ‘The type and diversity of work you are doing, work life balance, the company culture, personal and professional development should always be key considerations when choosing a role.’

‘Most people will be working for around 50 years,’ he continues. ‘Throughout that time they are likely to have 17 jobs across at least three industries so one of the key considerations should be whether you are passionate about what you are choosing to study.’

Need more inspiration to help you plan your future career? Check out Deakin’s Explore tool.  

this. featured experts
Dr Jeff Chamberlain
Dr Jeff Chamberlain

Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University.

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Dr Ian Gibson
Dr Ian Gibson

Professor of Industrial Design, School of Engineering, Deakin University

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Associate Professor Robin Doss
Associate Professor Robin Doss

Deputy Head of School of Information Technology, Deakin University

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Gavin Walker
Gavin Walker

Manager, Graduate Recruitment Services, Deakin University

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