If you’re thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration, it’s probably because of the high earnings potential it offers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for business and finance occupations in 2020 was $72,250, with business professionals who rise through the ranks earning a median salary of $109,760. The BLS reported a 2020 median wage of $41,950 for all occupations, but those median salary ranges are well above that figure.
One of the Highest Paying Majors in Business
Even if your first job out of college doesn’t pay six figures, you can be confident in your degree choice. When it comes to starting a career, business is one of the most lucrative majors for recent college grads and mid-career professionals alike. Only STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and health majors outperformed business majors when it came to starting salaries, according to a new study.
In the 2015 survey, the entry-level median wages for STEM majors, health majors, and business majors were $43,000, $41,000, and $37,000, respectively.
Businesses have overtaken healthcare in terms of mid-career wages, making them only second to STEM fields in earning potential. For business majors in the 25-34 age range, the median salary was $52,000. The median wage for this age group increased by $18,000 between the 35- to 44-year-old group and the 35- to 44-year-old group.
As a result of an additional $5,000, the overall median salary for this age group rose to $75,000 from $45,000.
Humanities, arts, and liberal arts majors, on the other hand, earned a median salary of just $29,000. Although the median starting salary for the least lucrative majors is higher than the $22,000 reported starting salary for workers with only a high school diploma, the median starting salary for the least lucrative majors remains higher.
The Most Lucrative Business Positions
Generally speaking, the highest-earning business professionals are those at the top. Managers can expect to earn six-figure salaries, and the higher up the corporate ladder they go, the more money they’ll make.
The chief executive position is the most lucrative for business majors. CEOs and CFOs earn an average of $185,950 per year in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Great pay is also available in positions of management in the marketing, advertising, and promotion fields. It was $141,490 per year in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for financial managers was $134,180, while the median salary for sales managers was $132,290.
Compensation and benefits managers earn the most, on average, $125,130 per year, followed by HR managers overall, who make an average of $121,220, and training and development managers, who make an average of $115,640 per year.
You don’t have to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top to begin earning six-figures. The median wage for general and operations managers in 2020 is $103,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Personal financial advisor, management analyst, financial analyst, and financial examiner are among the top-earning business jobs outside of management positions. Work as a budget analyst, logistician, accountant or auditor, labor relations specialist, or insurance underwriter, and you can expect to earn a median salary of $75,000 to $80,000.
It’s possible that your business administration and management skills aren’t enough to land you a job in another field, like a manager in computer and information systems or a health care manager.
The Highest Paying Business Jobs for New Employees
The problem with the high-paying jobs is that they are still out of reach for recent business school graduates. While these high salaries can give you an idea of what you can expect to earn in the future, you can’t expect to earn wages in this range when you’re just starting out in the workforce.
What Are the First Steps in a Business Career?
Most recent college graduates will have to start their careers in entry-level positions in fields such as consulting, analysis, and specialist and associate-level positions in order to gain any professional experience.
Roles of Consultants
Although the $37,000 median salary for new business graduates may not sound like much at first, there are plenty of jobs out there that pay significantly more. There are numerous entry-level positions in consulting that pay well, Business Insider reports. As of 2017, Business Insider reported, the median salary for entry-level management consultant roles was $74,300, according to salaries posted on the professional networking website LinkedIn.
The average salary for consulting analysts, who perform similar duties, was $75,000 in 2015.
Even though an entry-level position making $70,000 or more sounds too good to be true, it’s not unheard of in certain fields and regions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management consultants will make an average of $87,660 per year in 2020. Even entry-level positions in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry can pay up to $75,000, especially in regions where demand and wages are extremely high. This is based on a median wage of $93,710.
You can make more or less money depending on where you live. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut are the best-paying states for management consultants, or management analysts. In 2020, the average salary for this occupation in these states is expected to be between $108,040 and $113,560.
Exactly how does someone who is just out of school get started as a consultant? The first thing to know is that you are most likely to begin as a junior or associate consultant. You can improve your abilities by participating in company-sponsored training programs and taking advantage of mentorship programs with seasoned consultants.
From what you learned in the classroom and through internships or co-ops, you can draw on these skills when applying for entry-level consulting positions and interviewing for them.
Analyst Positions for Newcomers
Analysis is at the heart of a plethora of job responsibilities. Financial performance, investment opportunities, market conditions, and the risk of extending a loan are all examined by business professionals. In the financial sector, analysts are in high demand.
According to Business Insider, equity research analyst and investment banking analyst were among the highest-paying analyst roles in business in 2017. Junior analyst positions may be your best bet for gaining entry into a company.
It’s important for job seekers to be aware that even though they are listed as entry-level positions, some of these well-paying analyst positions require one to two years of full-time work experience.
Generally speaking, a junior business analyst is responsible for creating reports on trends in sales and other quantitative aspects of business under the supervision of more experienced business analysts. Financial services, insurance, and technical and professional services all employ a large number of analysts.
An Associate or a Specialist
Looking for roles at the associate level will help you find opportunities that are more in line with your current level of education and experience when you start your job search.. Among the most common entry-level job titles are those of development and marketing assistant. You can also look for job openings in a specific field of expertise.
Specialist does not necessarily imply an entry-level position, but it is a non-management position. A bachelor’s degree is often all that is needed to begin a career in a specialty field, and there are no specific work experience requirements.
Business school grads have a wide range of options for careers, including human resources specialists, communicators, marketers, social media specialists, and event specialists.
Highest-Paid Business Positions
Many high-paying business jobs have a high level of competition. It’s no secret that many business majors, in particular, have lofty career and salary ambitions. Even at the entry-level of employment, you’ll want your resume to stand out if you want to land the best-paying business jobs.
You’ll need to work hard both in and out of the classroom if you want to stand out from the crowd and land the best entry-level positions. When you’re looking for your first job out of college, your college GPA is more likely to play a role than if you’ve had years of experience under your belt. More than just impressing prospective employers, a high GPA is a necessity in today’s competitive job market.
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is required for some positions in the field of business, including some entry-level positions. An MBA program is more likely to accept you if you have a higher GPA.
Even for entry-level positions in the business world, employers typically look for candidates with strong technical and practical skills. To be successful in certain business roles, it is necessary to have a working knowledge of databases and CRM software, as well as SQL (structure query language) programming.
Other practical and technical business skills include the ability to generate financial accounting statements, produce financial data analyses, and conduct job interviews based on evidence.
Be sure to work on your soft skills as well as your technical ones if you want to succeed in business. There are numerous studies showing the importance of soft skills in predicting success at work. Even if your technical abilities are top-notch, a lack of interpersonal skills may make it difficult for you to effectively collaborate with coworkers and clients, or even to do well enough in a job interview to be considered for the position.
According to the Department of Labor, communication, teamwork, and decision-making are the most important soft skills for young people entering the workforce. Problem-solving, critical thinking, professionalism, leadership, work ethic, and adaptability and flexibility are additional soft skills that are important for more experienced workers.
Putting your hard and soft skills to use in the real world is the best way to demonstrate them and develop them. Students who have a lot of work experience in the field of business through internships, co-op programs, and involvement in extracurricular activities have an advantage over those who have little or no experience.
For one thing, they’ve already demonstrated their abilities in the real world of business, and they can draw on that knowledge when interviewing for their first professional position after college.
Keep your grades high even if you don’t plan on going to graduate school right now, because it could open the door to further education in the future.
What to Search for in Entry-Level Business Jobs?
Earning potential is important, but money isn’t everything in a career in the business world. Other factors to consider when looking for an entry-level business position include:
There’s always room for improvement. To the best of your ability, you should look for a position that offers both opportunities for advancement within your company and opportunities to learn new skills and hone your existing ones.
Even if the pay is competitive, a job that doesn’t challenge you enough to keep your interest can quickly turn into a dead-end job, even if the opportunity for advancement is there.
Considerations such as work-life balance and stress levels are critical considerations for some business majors. Stressful situations can arise in almost any job, whether it’s in business or another field. Even if you’re not at work, stress can have a negative impact on your health and well-being. Wall Street junior investment bankers, for example, are notorious for their long workdays and weeks, which can sometimes exceed 70 to 80 hours.
Investment banking analysts on Wall Street can expect to work long hours even after they’ve paid their dues at the junior level. The high salary may or may not be worth it for you, depending on how much time you are willing to devote to your career.
As part of your job search, you should also consider how well a position matches your skills and interests. You’ll be happier and more successful in a job if the majority of your responsibilities revolve around tasks you enjoy, rather than ones you dislike. It’s also possible that the best job for you is one in a specific industry, like healthcare, real estate or hospitality.