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The top earning jobs in the UK 2020

Written by  Dec 31, 2020

Businesses’ increasing reliance on complex data analysis has propelled data modelers to the top of a ranking of the UK’s highest paying jobs, according to figures released by job site giants, Indeed.

Businesses including those in finance, retail, healthcare and the media are clamouring to hire these highly-paid data experts, who build databases which translate complex data into computer systems that underpin some of the most important decisions by companies. These highly sought after data modelers top their list of highest paying jobs.

Despite not appearing at all in the 2019 list of highest paying jobs, the role claimed this year’s top spot, with data modelers earning £145,726 a year on average.

Indeed analysed hundreds of thousands of full-time roles advertised across its platform to identify which offer the highest average annual salaries heading into 2021.

Chief financial officers, who are responsible for managing a company’s financial planning and reporting, topped 2019’s salary table but have since fallen back to sixth position. Nevertheless their average salary has still risen from £112,666 a year to £115,467.

More of the highest paid jobs command an average annual salary above £100,000 this year compared to 2019’s list, with 11 roles receiving six-figure salaries compared to just three last year.

This is particularly true in the healthcare sector which accounts for more than a third (35%) of the highest-paying roles.

The scarcity of candidates with the qualifications, expertise and experience needed to fill such senior roles clearly drives up salaries as employers compete for the best talent.

Medical directors, who work at board level and are responsible for running NHS trusts, are the highest paid professionals in the healthcare sector.

Table: The highest paying jobs in 2020

Ranking Job title Average annual salary
1 Data modeler £145,726
2 Tax partner £127,357
3 Security project manager £124,208
4 Contract consultant £120,529
5 User experience researcher £118,261
6 Chief financial officer £115,467
7 Active directory engineer £114,000
8 Tableau developer £108,112
9 Vice president of sales £104,046
10 Vice president £101,933
11 Medical director £100,746
12 Chief commercial officer £98,272
13 Orthodontist £96,405
14 Virtualisation engineer £96,108
15 Vice president of engineering £95,912
16 Neurosurgeon £95,327
17 Neonatologist £95,183
18 Paediatric consultant £95,152
19 Ophthalmologist £93,876
20 Anesthesiologist £93,711


Bill Richards, UK managing director at global job site Indeed, comments:

“Data modeler is a role few people outside the tech and business worlds will have heard of. But its low profile may partly explain why it is so well paid; candidates with these specialist skills are rare and employers are fighting hard to win their attention – by offering high salaries.

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“A year ago, when we published our last ranking of the top-paying jobs, Britain’s labour market was extremely tight. Unemployment was at a historic low, and in some sectors the number of vacancies exceeded the number of qualified candidates.

“Now the pandemic has polarised things. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost, or are losing, their job – meaning employers who are recruiting can expect no shortage of applicants.

“But those who need people with very scarce skills face a challenge, as luring expert and specialist workers away from their current employer is even harder than usual. While money talks, offering a big salary is only one tactic, and the most strategic employers will design jobs around these valuable people’s work-life priorities.”

It seems that the technical and medical professions are where the big money is.

Karen Turner

A very experienced freelance IT journalist who now prefers to work from home and has such a broad range of knowledge accrued over the years, we would not cope without her influence and ideas.

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