Earning potential is a huge factor in why so many students go to school for business. With a median wage well above that of all occupations – particularly for those who ultimately rise to management roles – the field of business and finance has earned a lucrative reputation. Median salaries in this career field often range from $60,000 to $90,000 or more, while business professionals who advance to senior-level management roles can enjoy six-figure annual salaries.
The Best Salaries in Business and Finance
Outside of management roles, the median annual wage for jobs in the field of business and finance is $67,710, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest-paying of these jobs is personal financial advisor. The median wage in this occupation, which revolves around guiding individuals on investments, savings and other financial activities, is $90,640, the BLS reported. Next most lucrative is financial analyst, a similar role that shifts the focus to analyzing investment opportunities for both businesses and individuals. Financial analysts earn a median wage of $84,300, according to the BLS. If you want a high salary and the chance to work closely with management – often, from an outside agency – then you might prefer a career as a management analyst or management consultant, where the median wage is $82,450.
While not every business and finance role has a median wage as high as the $80,000 to $90,000-range, many of these jobs still offer great median salaries in the $60,000 to $80,000 ballpark. For example, budget analysts, who are in charge of keeping track of spending and budget reports, earn a median wage of $75,240. The logisticians who are responsible for coordinating a company’s supply chain system make a median salary of $74,590. Insurance underwriters enjoy a median wage of $69,760, and accountants and auditors, $69,350. Purchasing managers, insurance claims adjusters and loan officers all earn median salaries in the mid-$60,000 range. For market research analysts, labor relations specialists, cost estimators, human resource specialists and fundraisers have a median wage in the low $60,000 range.
Many of these business roles are also available to graduates of degree programs in finance, accounting, economics, human resources and even mathematics.
Wages for Business Management Roles
When you have worked hard to reach the top of the ladder in your business career, your salary will show it. The BLS reports a median wage of $102,590 for all management careers. Often, the highest-paying roles in management are also the ones that most require a degree in business or a similar subject as well as substantial work experience. Chief executives, who hold job titles such as chief executive officer (CEOs), president, executive director, chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO), earn a median wage of $183,270.
Some of these high-paying management careers, like computer and information systems manager, engineering manager and natural science managers, tend to require a background other than business. However, a business degree can get you started on the road to becoming an advertising, promotions or marketing manager, with a median wage of $129,380. Financial managers make a $125,080 median salary. For sales managers, the median wage is $121,060, though their income may be split between salary, commission pay and bonuses. Public relations managers and fundraising managers make a median salary of $111,280. Jobs that involve management of employee recruiting, compensation and training can also offer high wages. Human resources managers make a median wage of $110,120, while training and development managers see wages of $108,250 and compensation and benefits managers, $119,120.
The most lucrative industries for chief executives are manufacturing and the professional, scientific and technical services, both of which pay a median wage of $208,000 or more, the BLS reported.
Salaries for New Business Graduates
Of course, it isn’t realistic to expect to earn these median, or midpoint, salaries fresh out of college. Education is just one of the many factors that affect your salary in business. New business graduates have the degree, but they are typically lacking important factors such as years of work experience, professional credentials and past work performance that contribute to these high salaries. However, you have the opportunity to acquire these attributes after you start working in the field of business. Studies on the value of college majors have shown that business is right up there alongside STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs as the highest paying majors. According to national salary statistics, recent graduates of business administration and business management degree programs reported earning an average salary of $52,491.
Did you know that your choice of school could affect your earning potential, especially as a new graduate? Some schools of business report that their graduates’ average salaries are several thousand dollars above the national average for that major.