Want A High-Paying Job? Get Ready To Commute

Want to score a big starting salary fresh out of business school? Prepare to leave your couch.

Ladders Inc., a career site for jobs that pay $100K or more annually, reported May 20 that remote job availability for the highest income earners fell by nearly 60% in the past year, and that hybrid job availability for those earners fell by about 95%. There are almost zero hybrid or remote job vacancies available for the highest wage earners, according to Ladders — and those fresh out of business or any other school are even more unlikely to score a six-figure payday that allows them to work remotely, since they will be competing with more experienced job-seekers.

One year ago, about 10% of these opportunities were remote and about 6% were hybrid. It’s a far cry from January 2023, when Ladders reported that 36% of all professional jobs in the U.S. and Canada that paid more than $100K were “permanently remote.”

Source: Ladders.com


Ladders’s research into more than half a million jobs posted over the past year showed about 4% of quarter million-dollar jobs are now available as fully remote and fewer than one percent are available as hybrid. Meanwhile, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to match the buying power of a $100,000 job one generation ago in 1994, you’d need to earn $212,000 today.

“Given the inflationary pressures on wages, this information impacts more people than you might think,” says John Mullinix, Ladders’ director of growth marketing, who led the new research. “You could even say that thanks to inflation wreaking havoc on family budgets, $200,000 is the new $100,000 when it comes to careers.

“It’s clear $100,000 is no longer the gold-standard salary.”

According to Ladders, to earn $250K or more annually, job-seekers will likely need advanced degrees and/or years of specialized training. Most of the highest-paying jobs require at least 5 to 10 years of experience and the highest require 15 or more. “It’s absolutely a myth that you can earn this type of job income without making some serious sacrifices to get there,” Mullinix says. “We’re talking advanced degrees, specialized residencies, certifications, and substantial experience.”

Source: Ladders.com


To find the type of job openings with the most competition, Ladders divided the number of high-paying jobs in a particular field by the number of applications submitted within that field. It found that operations professionals, general managers, and marketing employees are least likely to achieve a $250,000 salary; healthcare, science, education, engineering and technology jobs pay the most.

However, among the top-paying jobs that aren’t in healthcare are Chief Financial Officers, Principal Product Managers, and Principal Software Engineers.

Ladders’s High Paying Jobs Competition Index (below) reveals job titles with the most applicant competition; see a list at bottom of the overall highest-paying jobs, according to Ladders’s research.

Source: Ladders.com


Physician: Medical doctors diagnose and treat illnesses. They require a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), residency training, and state licensure.

Dentist: Dentists diagnose and treat dental issues. Education includes a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) and state licensure.

Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists specialize in mental health, including substance use disorders. They need an MD or DO, specialized residency training in psychiatry, and board certification.

Principal Software Engineer: This role involves high-level software development, system architecture, and often team leadership. Requirements typically include a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in computer science or a related field, along with extensive experience.

Physiatrist: Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians focus on restoring function for people with physical impairments. An MD or DO, residency in physiatry, and board certification are required.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO): CFOs manage the financial actions of a company. This role typically requires an advanced degree in finance, accounting, or business, along with extensive experience.

Orthopedic Surgeon: These surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system. Education includes an MD or DO, residency in orthopedics, and often a fellowship in a subspecialty, plus board certification.

Primary Care Physician: These physicians provide first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern as well as ongoing care for varied medical conditions. MD or DO, residency in family medicine or internal medicine, and board certification are needed.

Veterinarians: care for the health of animals. They require a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and licensure.

Medical Director: Typically, a physician who oversees the clinical operations of a hospital or healthcare facility. Requires an MD or DO, board certification, and experience in clinical practice and administration.

Hand Surgeon: Surgeons specializing in operations of the hand, wrist, and forearm. They require an MD or DO, orthopedic or plastic surgery residency, hand surgery fellowship, and board certification.

Principal Product Manager: This role involves leading the development and strategic direction for a product. Generally requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in business or a technical field, along with substantial product management experience.

Dermatologist: Physicians specializing in skin health, including diseases, conditions, and aesthetics. Requires an MD or DO, dermatology residency, and board certification.

Endodontist: Dentists specializing in the treatment of dental pulp and nerve issues, typically involving root canals. Requires DDS or DMD, specialized residency in endodontics, and certification.

Neonatologist: Doctors who specialize in the care of newborns, especially the ill or premature. Requires an MD or DO, pediatrics residency, neonatology fellowship, and board certification.

Read Ladders.com’s report here.


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