I Want More Money: What Industry Should I Choose?

More-MoneyIndustries200398520WideAre you interested in earning a higher salary?

In this series, I’ve embarked on an expedition to explore and filter through data from Global Knowledge’s eighth annual IT Skills and Salary Report to discover correlations in situations where professionals report a higher income. To aid in my data conquest of the over 16,300 respondents, I’ve broken down the numbers to represent the differences (and similarities) between IT and non-IT professionals. Although both parties are represented in my posts, the report’s survey gathering focused on IT professionals, and so in most cases, the response rate of non-IT professionals is below statistical standards and proves difficult to show its significance.

Wouldn’t it be nice to change industries and immediately make more money? Are you curious to see how your salary compares to others in your industry?

In this post, I’ve broken down the top and the not-so-on-top industries to work in, based on the average reported salary.Even if you work in a specific industry, you’re not guaranteed to earn that salary, and results among different individuals will always vary. You could earn more, or less, than the reported amount depending on other factors like tenure, management level, location, job function, company size and experience. When comparing the data below to our report averages, note that the mean overall salary for IT respondents is $88,323, and $101,680 for non-IT respondents for those who provided their current employer’s industry.

Top 10 Industries: 1–10

Coming in as the number-one industry is VAR, Information System Integration for IT respondents, and Professional Business Services for non-IT respondents. Overall, these top 10 industries for both IT and non-IT professionals rank 4–21% above the mean average among all respondents.

The large difference between the percentages ranking above the mean average (4–21%) among top 10 derives from the large range between the number one response and number 10.

IT Respondents: Range between #1 and #10 = $12,061
Non-IT Respondents: Range between #1 and #10 = $23,431

IT and non-IT respondents both reported similar higher-paying positions within these top 10 industries. Shared top money-making industries among both sets of professionals include:

• Media / film / music
• Banking / financing / accounting
• Natural resources (mining / oil / gas)
• IT communication manufacturing
• IT consulting

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
1 Value-Added Reseller (VAR), Information System Integration $104,187 Professional Business Services $129,390
2 Media, Film, Music $101,017 Media, Film, Music** $128,754
3 Other** $100,130 Natural Resources: Mining, Oil or Gas* $125,520
4 IT Consulting $98,380 Software Related** $122,169
5 Natural Resources: Mining, Oil or Gas $98,185 Science (non-bio)** $119,639
6 Software Related $98,096 IT Communication Manufacturing* $119,147
7 IT Communication Manufacturing $95,442 Government – Military and Homeland Security* $115,667
8 Banking, Finance, Accounting $93,321 Banking, Finance, Accounting $108,150
9 Manufacturing: Consumer $92,530 IT Consulting $107,717
10 HR and Staffing** $92,126 Hospitality, Travel and Recreation** $105,959


Average Industries: 11–23

The next 13 industries are middle of the pack in average reported salary among respondents. Similar to our top 10 industries, there’s an overlap of over 50% identical industries on both the IT and non-IT professionals side for spots 11-20, demonstrating the importance of industry in relation to salary for these types of professional employees.

Although the salaries of respondents working in these industries start above mean earnings, salary figures also drop below the overall reported average salary for both IT and non-IT professionals within this group. Number 14 (VAR, Information System Integration) is the first industry to average below the mean non-IT professional’s salary of $101,680. For IT professionals, the drop below the average of $88,323 occurs farther down the list at number 17, Science (non-bio).

Additionally, the range between numbers 11 and 23 in this group is much smaller when compared to the top 10, showing a more consistent average among these industries.

IT Respondents: Range between #11 and #23 = $6,382
Non-IT Respondents: Range between #11 and #23 = $12,970

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
11 Aerospace/Defense $91,280 IT-Related Services $104,546
12 Government – Military and Homeland Security $90,837 Manufacturing: Industrial $103,535
13 Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biotech $90,368 Data Security** $103,450
14 Communications, PR, Advertising, Marketing $89,967 VAR, Information System Integration* $102,389
15 Insurance, Real Estate, Legal $89,672 Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biotech** $100,485
16 Professional Business Services $89,240 Natural Resources: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing* $100,000
17 Science (non-bio)** $87,516 Transportation, Logistics, Public Utilities $99,102
18 IT-Related Services $87,275 Insurance, Real Estate, Legal $97,900
19 Healthcare $86,346 Aerospace/Defense** $95,862
20 Telecommunications $86,249 Telecommunications $94,338
21 Transportation, Logistics, Public Utilities $85,526 Healthcare $92,359
22 Wholesale $84,959 Manufacturing: Consumer* $91,897
23 Hospitality, Travel and Recreation $84,898 Government – Non-Defense, State, Local $91,576


Bottom Industries: 24–35

These industries ranked last for average reported salaries among respondents. As reported in the previous blog post “I Want More Money: Where Should I Live?” — most of the lower-ranking industries had the least amount of respondents for both IT and non-IT professionals, making the data less statistically significant and impossible to formulate accurate conclusions.

If you’re looking for average earnings in the last two industries for non-IT professionals, you’ll have to do some research because our survey reported zero respondents for “HR and Staffing” and “Other Services” industry categories.

Given the numerous security breaches afflicting many organizations recently, the Data Security industry comes in last on the list of average salary for IT professionals (additionally, coming in with a low number of respondents). One can only hope that with the low numbers and salary, most companies function with an in-house data security team in lieu of outsourcing to companies specializing in data security.

IT Respondents: Range between #24 and #35 = $12,503
Non-IT Respondents: Range between #24 and #35 = $12,503

IT Respondents Non-IT Respondents
24 Manufacturing: Industrial $84,747 Construction, Architecture, Engineering* $90,969
25 Other Services** $84,667 Retail* $89,329
26 Government – Non-Defense, State, Local $84,316 Wholesale** $86,700
27 Construction, Architecture, Engineering $83,302 Communications, PR, Advertising, Marketing** $85,714
28 Retail $82,573 Automotive** $85,000
29 Nonprofit $81,792 Nonprofit* $84,787
30 Natural Resources: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing* $79,577 Entertainment, Gambling, Sports** $83,683
31 Food related** $78,453 Education Services $79,587
32 Education Services $76,515 Food Related* $71,500
33 Entertainment, Gambling, Sports* $75,695 Other* $60,842
34 Automotive** $73,500
35 Data Security** $72,244


*Denotes 20–49 respondents.
**Denotes less than 20 respondents.

This overarching look at industries provides a somewhat clear and accurate depiction of potential earnings for IT and non-IT professionals. In all instances, an average doesn’t represent the whole, so I recommend finding an online forum such as the My Community forums inside MyGK, to connect with professionals in your field and ask about specific job functions within the industry and their average earnings.

To find out more about earnings by state, view the previous blog in this series, “I Want More Money: Where Should I Live?

Next in the Series
I Want More Money: What Certifications Should I Pursue?

Want to learn more?
To see additional data on demographics, job functions and other factors that impact salary, download the full eighth annual 2015 IT Skills & Salary Report.

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