Top 10 High Income Skills of 2021 (Based on Real Data)
High income skills allow you to future-proof your career, making you valuable to any employer. Our data reveals what the high-income skills of 2021 are.
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The workforce is undergoing huge fluctuations. COVID-19 has made the workplace more flexible and has increased remote-working opportunities. At the same time, advances in technology will change many roles and may replace others with robots. There are specific high demand skills that will help future-proof your career and make money in 2021.
We’ve compared data from 4 trusted sources – the World Economic Forum (WEF), Hays, RMIT, LinkedIn, and JobOutlook – to make an unbiased list of high-income skills that are also predicted to be skills of the future.
The top high-income skills we identified are:
Skills such as critical and creative thinking, or unique problem-solving approaches, are unlikely to be displaced by technology any time soon.
Human-focused skills like leadership and empathy are also going to be increasingly important – and irreplaceable by machines.
Complex skill sets such as technological skills are also rarer in the workforce, so if you hone these, you may get a competitive edge and help you make more money.
Fortunately, you can learn many of these hard and soft skills if you’re interested and dedicated. There are in-person and online courses available at a range of levels: not all of them require many years of study. Some can be even be completed alongside your current job.
Table of Contents
1. Product marketing
Product marketing is the skill of promoting and selling products. Product marketers understand the product’s target audience and use marketing strategies and messaging to increase demand. It’s a high-income skill because:
It’s hard to imagine how a robot could appeal to human wants and needs. It requires an understanding of human psychology and decision-making.
The job could involve creating iconic ad campaigns, partnering with the perfect celebrity or influencer, having conversations with potential customers. There are no right or wrong answers, just a need to stand out and be memorable.
You may be dividing up your target markets into different sub-groups such as consumer types or age groups and working with data to develop a different strategy for each.
Roles that incorporate product marketing skills, plus related full-time equivalent salaries and expected future growth:
Advertising, PR, and sales manager
Advertising and marketing professional
Public relations professional
2. Digital marketing
Marketing aims to get people enthusiastic about buying your product. Doing this using digital platforms such as social media, YouTube, web ads, and similar is known as digital marketing.
It’s a high-income skill because – as with product marketing – it’s future-proof, creative, and analytical. It also involves having a solid tech skill set. You’ll need to know the ins and outs of different platforms, web analytics, email marketing, affiliate marketing, blogging, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
The WEF has identified technological proficiency as a skill set that’s both in shortage and in increasing demand. Your copywriting skill will also be high: you’ll be able to write in a way that appeals to a broad audience.
Roles that incorporate digital marketing skills and their related salaries and expected future growth are those listed above for product marketing, with the ability to specialise in digital roles, such as social media manager, online business, or content marketing roles.
Refer to the above section for more information on salaries.
3. Business management
Business management involves taking a leadership role in project management or among people in corporate settings. It’s a skill for top earners because:
You’ll know how to build relationships and help people achieve their best.
It involves strategic thinking and problem-solving
You’ll understand the complexities of various industries and markets and use your knowledge to make good decisions.
Roles that incorporate business management skills and their related salaries and expected future growth are:
Corporate general manager
Chief executive or managing director
Cafe and restaurant manager
4. Management consulting
Management consulting is all about helping organisations (from small businesses and startups to big corporations and government departments) improve their business practices. It may involve developing new processes and procedures, rethinking business strategy, and identifying untapped skills or weaknesses to address in the workforce.
Management consulting is a high-income skill for similar reasons to business management. You need great people skills. You also need to able to think strategically and solve open-ended complex problems. Many management consultants are further valued for their years of industry experience and the hard skills that result. Six-figure salaries are typical for management consultants.
Roles that incorporate management consulting skills and their related salaries and expected future growth are:
Human resource manager
Intelligence and policy analyst
5. Retail sales
Retail is a vast industry that employs around 1.3 million Australians. The available jobs are diverse, and specific skills can lead to high incomes in the sector. Like with marketing skills, your goal is to make products and services appeal to consumers – a creative, problem-solving task. Like managerial work, you need to be in tune with people and understand how to work with them to get the best outcomes.
Roles that incorporate retail sales skills and their related salaries and expected future growth are:
Technical sales representative
6. Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
Software development involves designing, programming, and testing computer software or other digital applications. SDLC is performing those software development processes in a business context, essentially producing the best software you can as quickly as possible.
SDLC is a high-income skill because:
Software and application programmer
7. Computer networking
Workplaces increasingly rely on both internet and intranet connections for basic tasks and collaboration. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically demonstrated the importance of connectivity and the infrastructure that supports it.
Those involved with creating, maintaining, and securing these networks have much-needed skills.
These are also high-paying skills because it requires a high degree of tech-savviness and knowledge of both physical networks and cloud computing. It also requires good problem-solving skills – often, when things go wrong, it’s not clear what the cause or solution is.
Roles that incorporate computer networking skills and their related salaries and expected future growth are:
Computer network professional
ICT security specialist
8. Web development
Similar to software development, web development involves building and maintaining websites and internet applications. It’s a high-income skill for similar reasons to software development: you need to be great with technology, a quick problem-solver, creative, and cooperative.
Multimedia specialists and web developers have an average salary of $82,992, with strong future growth.
Refer to the above section for more information on salaries.
9. Graphic design / web design
While developers focus on the functionality of tech products like software and websites, designers focus on the visual experience. They make the products clear, easy to navigate, and attractive. Both graphic and web design are high-income skills because:
They require a lot of creativity
You create products that are unique, striking, attractive, and useable. This involves using shapes, colours, and styles effectively and taking a thoughtful approach to aesthetics.
They require sound technological skills
Web designers are likely to code, and both web and graphic designers use a suite of complex software such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and content management systems.
They are human-focused
Like web and software developers, you will likely work in teams and for clients. On top of this, you need to be psychological astute, aware of what draws attention, and make products accessible to all users.
Roles that make use of this skill include:
10. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is playing a central role in the tech revolution we’re already beginning to witness. A big part of what makes new technologies so powerful is the ability for programs to “learn” while they’re being implemented.
For example, the “CAPTCHA” tasks some websites make you do to prove you’re not a robot is a form of machine learning: each time someone tells them that a picture is of a boat or bicycle, the program gets better at recognising boats and bikes by itself.
Given the demand for tech skills in areas like artificial intelligence, understanding how to design, teach, and implement artificial intelligence is a high-income skill. On top of this, it also involves software developers’ skills: advanced technology skills, problem-solving, and working collaboratively.
Roles that incorporate artificial intelligence skills are similar to those listed in software development.
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