According to Statistics Canada, the average wage across all occupations in Canada is CAD$49,805 (USD$37,469) per year.35 Let’s see how some of the higher-paying jobs compare and what kind of education or qualifications are required.
In New Zealand, the median weekly earnings from wages and salaries is NZD$1,016 (USD$674),27 which is around NZD$52,832 (USD$35,031) a year. But how do some of the top-paying jobs compare and what skills are needed for these roles?
After analysing the top-paying jobs across the five countries we analysed, we determined that higher education was required for 68.2% of them. These occupations include:
Roles can vary between nations and the training and experience can also differ, so make sure you know the requirements within your country.
From our analysis, higher education wasn’t required for 31.8% of occupations. Here’s a list of jobs that might not require a university degree:
Only four occupations appeared in more than one country’s highest-paid jobs list across the countries we analysed. These include:
From our analysis, it really depends on the country you reside in and your role. In the United States and Australia, for example, the top paid jobs all require higher education. However, we also observed that in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, a degree isn’t compulsory for any of the top-paying positions. Countries like New Zealand and Canada saw some high paying roles that require higher education and some that don’t.
Our data shows that higher education can play a role in obtaining jobs that pay well above the average wage on a country level. In fact, looking at 25 jobs across five countries shows that a degree is necessary for 15 of them. However, our data also indicates many jobs, such as chief executives, data scientists and mining supervisors pay well and don’t require a degree.
Higher education may not be the most important factor when it comes to financial consciousness. Our 2018 Financial Consciousness Index report found that while Australians who have completed higher education have a higher FCI score (a ranking of the ability to change or influence financial incomes) compared to those with a lower education, it doesn’t always mean they reach their peak of financial consciousness. In many cases, it’s other factors, such as whether a person has a mortgage, that increases this score.
Similarly, the report also found that people on lower incomes tend to be good at budgeting and sticking to their budget – suggesting that higher education alone doesn’t always influence the money decisions we make.42
Meanwhile, a link between higher education and money has been found in other studies. A 2018 study conducted by Cornell University found that people with an education behind them might improve economic decision-making quality or economic rationality.44 This research is backed up by a 2009 study conducted by the University of Minnesota, which found those with higher IQs tend to make wiser financial decisions.45
While a university degree can help you earn more money, it may not always help you make the best decisions. How so?
Research published in the Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications Journal in 2020 found that having prior knowledge of a topic may lead people to make worse decisions if they’re presented with new facts.43
Researchers also argued that extra knowledge might cause people to focus on factors not relevant to the problem at hand, which could make them less confident in the decisions they make.
It turns out men are more likely to pursue higher-paying jobs than women. Research published in the Sociology of Education Journal in 2019 found that, even when males and females in college select majors that result in higher-paying jobs, women are still more likely to pick fields that will result in less money.46 The study found women usually choose majors they believe are realistic to them, which often come with a lower salary.