Research reveals top paying careers after 20 years

New research by Standout CV has unveiled the top paying careers by the time an employee reaches their 20th year in the job.

Traditionally the half-way point in people’s working lives, the study revealed that it is pilots who accumulate the most cash by their 20th work anniversary – pocketing £1,132,500.

Created by analysing ONS pay data, the research found the 10-highest paying roles in the UK earn an average of £71,000 per year, with pilots reporting an average salary of £92,330 and chief executive officers (CEOs) £85,239.

But the reward of pilots is not initially so fruitful, with those that take to the skies having to wait till after their fifth year before they are in the black, according to the study. Until that point, pilots were found to make a ‘net-loss’ of £70,000 due to the cost of attaining their qualification.

Total gains pilots make, however, eclipse those of second-ranked financial managers – who will have earned £1,087,000 by the end of their first two decades in employment. Coming in third are senior police officers, who will have made £916,279 over the same time period.

Despite being third-placed for total earnings over 20 years, senior police offers earn the most in their first five years of employment (£130,794). This is more than any of the 10 professions ranked (including GPs, marketing directors, IT directors, PR directors and CEOs).

The next highest-placed early career earners are financial managers. These professionals earn £99,000 after five years. The reason, according to the research, is that many top firms are now moving away from applicants holding a degree as a requirement of being hired; thus saving them the cost of training.

Andrew Fennell, director, and careers expert at Standout CV, said: “What the data really highlights is just how many of the top-paying roles in the UK also require high fees to be paid to get a foot in the door.”

The data found that the cost of training and other fees to be a pilot was also the highest – £95,000. CEOs spend £40,278, followed by marketing directors, who will also have to spend an average of £40,278 before they can start earning big money.