High Paying Jobs

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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In a tough economic market, finding high paying jobs is, for many employment-seekers, secondary to finding a job, period. Oftentimes, individuals and families simply need a paycheck to get by until the winds shift and brighter days appear on the horizon. Predictably, then, employers lower their expectations as well as their criteria to take advantage of labor surpluses.

It's strange to think of labor in the same way as food, cars, and packaged goods, but the same economic models apply. An economist can graph supply and demand for labor just as he or she would graphically depict quantities of corn and wheat or demand for foreign sports cars. As the corresponding curves rise and fall along their axes, the equilibrium point, the juncture at which the lines cross, moves as well. That intersection marks the spot where transactions--that is, employee hires--occur.

Recessions, Depressions, and Downturns

In difficult times, the market for high paying jobs is often tougher. The new jobs that are created are typically found in service industries such as food and hospitality, as well as apparel and other forms of retail. Most of these jobs require little formal training of their applicants, which is one reason they're attractive to employers. As the market fluctuates, bosses can easily expand and contract their staffs.

Even during economic doldrums, however, someone must be trying cases, cutting open patients, and landing airplanes, right? Well, yes, but there's another phenomenon that comes along with sour times, and that's job retention. Fewer and fewer workers are likely to quit their posts to pursue new careers, go back to school, or embark on high-risk entrepreneurial efforts.

So Where Are All the High Paying Jobs?

The types of high paying jobs found in labor-rich markets are mostly the same as those found in labor-poor markets. Doctors, lawyers, physicists, and other highly trained workers will always command top dollar for their services, even though their high-water marks might sink when money is tight throughout the economy. It's their position on the employment ladder relative to that of less-skilled workers that remains fixed. A journalist's wages may drop from $35K to $30K while a surgeon's rate may sink from $135K to $120K.

While physicians and attorneys are predictably high atop the list of high paying jobs, some of their followers are often surprises. Scientists, for example, continue to draw impressively large salaries in poor markets, though the metrics here require a caveat. Many of these "scientists" are in fact credentialed technicians and academics, however more than a few earn their keep as university lecturers, researchers, and professors. Simply having an advanced degree in chemistry, on its own, is cold comfort.

How Can I Find High Paying Jobs?

As you can imagine, the fact that so many people are out there searching for high paying jobs is itself an indication of the tough road that lies ahead. Bright, resourceful, good-looking, and well-connected people will assuredly find work, even in the most unfriendly labor markets. It's the rest of us who can use a little help when it comes to finding high paying jobs.

Certainly, there must be more to the equation than just having a sharp resume, access to job leads, and sheer determination. As it turns out, this is exactly the case; having a far-reaching network is arguably more important than any single one of these attributes. Additionally, knowing where to look for leads is of critical importance, as the most popular job boards are already crawling with candidates.


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