The social impact of technology and progress in scientific fields has driven various changes in society. These factors opened up new avenues that provided jobs and services that were unavailable 20 years ago. Two decades ago, jobs related to technology paid individuals a decent salary while lawyers were one of the highest-paid professionals. However, the drastic changes over the past decades caused a slight shift in the nature of these occupations. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers were high-paying jobs 20 years ago and are still today. However, positions in technological fields and corporate environments have also become one of the highest-paying jobs. The health, technology, and business management sector are the leading figures of the highest-paying jobs 20 years ago and today.
The health sector is a field that consistently offers high salaries to its workers. Doctors and medical specialists had the highest salaries in 1997. Doctors had a salary range of $100,000 to $175,000 in 1997 (Tchester.org). These positions include surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, and other medical specializations. Occupation therapists had a starting salary of $38,000 in 1997 but in 2012, the median income for the position was $72,320 (The 10 Highest Paying Jobs Of The Future). Individuals can consider anesthesiologist as the highest-paying job in the medical field as of 2020. Anesthesiologists annually earn $267,020 (Liu). The position requires an individual to have a doctorate which is a requirement for most high-paying medical jobs.
The technological field is another high-paying sector. The advancement in technology has resulted in new jobs in the sector. Positions like cybersecurity analysts, cybersecurity engineers, and even white-hat hackers began to emerge as the Internet becomes a basic necessity. Innovations in the field of physics and other sciences have created a growing demand for engineers. Petroleum engineers have a mean annual salary of $156,370 (Liu). These are individuals that manage operations regarding crude oils and other natural gasses. Chemical engineers in 1997 had an annual salary range of $45,500 to $148,000 (Tchester.org). This gives them an annual salary of around $96,750. IT managers earn a mean annual salary of $152,860 (Liu). Computer and tech specialists in 1997 had an annual income of $30,000 to $75,000. These figures doubled over the past two decades due to the integral role of technology in modern society.
Lastly, positions in the business management area are some of the high-paying jobs over the past decades. Business managers oversee a company’s overall workflow and are responsible for creating business plans. They are relevant factors in the success and stability of a business. Their jobs are stressful and may often disrupt their personal lives which is one reason why businesses are willing to pay them high salaries. Marketing, financial, and sales manager have a mean annual salary of around $144,000 while operations managers and financial advisors earn an average of $122,720 per year (Liu). Unlike doctors and engineers, business management jobs were not one of the top-paying jobs 20 years ago. However, the significant societal changes over the decades have shown the importance of the positions and the needed salary increase.
The health, technology, and business management sector are the leading figures of the highest-paying jobs 20 years ago and today. Medical specialists have consistently received high salaries from 1997 to 2021. Engineers and IT professionals had decent to high salaries 20 years ago and eventually gained a drastic wage increase due to technological advancements. Business management positions began to become an integral part of successful and growing companies which increased demand and their salary range. While the highest-paying jobs 20 years ago may be different from the positions today, the medical, technological, and business sector continues to provide competitive salaries for their workers.
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Business Insider. The 10 Highest Paying Jobs of the Future. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-10-best-paying-jobs-of-the-future-2012-9. 2012
Liu, Jennifer. The best-paying job of 2020 pays $267,020—here are the other 24. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/06/the-best-paying-jobs-of-2020-from-us-news-and-world-report.html. 2020
Strauss, Karsten. The 20 Highest Paying Jobs In America In 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2017/01/10/the-20-highest-paying-jobs-in-america-in-2017/#2ab086662594. 2017.
Tchester.org. Salary Information by Occupation. http://tchester.org/znet/facts/salaries.html. 1998.