Organizational leadership careers go by many names and exist in many forms, but are essential to every type of organization. From multinational corporations to manufacturing plants to nonprofit organizations, all businesses need multi-skilled, adaptive leaders who can coordinate the resources and collaborative power required to achieve a company’s vision.
A master’s degree in organizational leadership provides a thorough, foundational education for anyone who wants to jumpstart a career in leadership. “This program doesn’t focus on one or two types of organizations or roles,” says Les Stein, assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. “I would argue that our primary mission is to make and develop leaders for every kind of organization, domestic or international.”
With such diverse leadership positions available, it’s important to know which roles appeal to you, so you can make the right choices in furthering your career. Perhaps the most critical decision is what job title and industry you hope to work in. These factors play a major role in your starting salary, as well as your long-term earning potential.
6 High-Paying Careers in Organizational Leadership
Here are some of the highest earning positions in organizational leadership that you should consider.
1. Human Resources Manager
Annual Median Salary: $126,230
A human resources manager coordinates an entire HR department, providing guidance for team members and helping executives develop organization-wide outreach strategies. In addition to performing many of the same duties as a specialist, HR managers handle supervisory tasks such as developing salary budgets, benefits programs, payroll procedures, and disciplinary policies.
HR managers also work with other departmental leaders to identify talented employees and place them in the right roles to help the organization grow. Since this managerial role is pivotal to the direction and execution of an organization’s leadership, you can expect to earn a high salary between $75,000 and $208,000. According to a Lightcast report, the annual median wage is $126,230.
2. Medical and Health Services Manager
Annual Median Salary: $101,340
Medical and health services managers coordinate the daily operations of healthcare facilities. They provide safe, compliant, and beneficial patient care, which involves extensive planning. Healthcare administrators oversee many interconnected tasks, including recruitment, training, billing, budgeting, workflow efficiency, stakeholder management, and government compliance.
Health services managers must stay informed of legal and technological standards and keep accurate documentation of facility resource usage for compliance reporting. You’ll find these highly skilled leaders managing clinical departments, private practices, or entire healthcare facilities. With a median annual wage of $101,340, medical and health services management is one of the most lucrative jobs in organizational leadership. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most salaries in this field range from $60,780 to as much as $205,620.
3. Personal Financial Advisor
Annual Median Salary: $94,170
Personal financial advisors help clients manage their assets and develop short- and long-term financial strategies. They help clients set goals based on their savings or retirement needs and offer guidance on key decisions, including budgeting, investing, filing taxes, estate planning, and financing large purchases.
A financial advisor’s main job is to educate clients on the best methods to maximize returns and minimize risk and loss. Advisors often work directly for financial institutions or insurers selling financial products but are also hired by entrepreneurs and smaller companies to manage organizational finances. On average, financial advisors earn salaries ranging from $47,570 to $208,000, with a median annual wage of $94,170, according to a Lightcast report.
4. Human Resources Specialist
Annual Median Salary: $61,009
Human resources specialists manage personnel issues ranging from recruitment to mediation to employee development. Depending on the type of organization and its size, HR professionals may work in specialized roles or act as HR generalists handling many administrative aspects of labor relations.
HR specialists must be comfortable interacting with a wide range of people, as they’re frequently responsible for overseeing onboarding, training, benefits, performance reviews, compliance, and employee welfare. As an HR specialist, you can expect to earn between $52,600 and $67,568, or an average annual salary of $61,009.
5. Personal Service Manager
Annual Median Salary: $60,194
Personal service managers supervise service teams and oversee operations in a variety of industries, such as transportation, maintenance, customer service, healthcare, and residential services. While the everyday responsibilities of a personal manager vary by organization, the role usually involves delegation, training, personnel relations, ordering, and project and resource management.
As an authority on daily operations, personal service managers are expected to have in-depth knowledge of the organization’s offerings, procedures, and policies to ensure they align with current industry standards. They’re also responsible for ensuring employees are well-informed and prepared to deliver positive customer or client experiences. On average, personal service managers earn a base salary of $60,194 a year, but due to differences in industries and experience levels, salaries may range from $52,000 to $134,000, according to Glassdoor.
6. Human Resources Assistant
Annual Median Salary: $49,678
Human resources assistants act as support staff for HR specialists and managers. In most organizations, they handle an HR department’s everyday clerical tasks, such as setting appointments, answering calls, record-keeping, and pre-screening job applicants. While this isn’t the highest-paying career on an organizational leadership path, it offers a competitive salary between $44,581 and $56,010, with an average annual salary of $49,678. The real value in this position is that it opens doors to some of the highest-paying roles in organizational leadership, such as a human resources manager.
4 Things You Can Do to Increase Your Earning Potential
As illustrated in the list above, organizational leadership roles come with a wide range of salaries. If you want to qualify for top-tier jobs, getting the proper training and experience is important to develop the most in-demand skill sets in the field. Here are some smart ways you can earn more throughout your career.
Earn the Right Degree
Obtaining a master’s degree leads to higher salary potential as a comprehensive education gives you the core skills needed to succeed along with specialized elective training for your target industries.
Northeastern’s program is accelerated to propel graduates into the workforce and leadership roles faster. “This particular one-year experiential degree is geared toward people who are willing to take a year from work,” Stein states.
Create a Specialized Skill Set
The more skills you bring to the table, the higher salary you can command in organizational leadership positions. While you can bring many specialized, industry-specific skills to your organization, it’s important to develop leadership-specific skill sets that help you navigate management dynamics, such as facilitating cross-team collaboration. Some of the most crucial interpersonal skills include:
- Employee Relations: Good leaders must be skilled at communicating, managing conflicts, and fostering a work environment that promotes employee success.
- Performance Management: Leaders are invaluable to an organization when they have the insight and delegation skills to take a high-level view of company goals, projects, and resources to convert them into workflows and deliverables.
- Employee Engagement: Motivating and retaining employees is crucial to bringing stability to an organization and creating a steady talent funnel for promotion.
The best leaders gain a strong understanding of how an organization works by interacting with its many teams and learning the importance of each member’s roles and responsibilities. Employers value this multifaceted leadership approach, but this doesn’t always have to come from years on the job.
“A lot of the companies say they want four or five years of experience, but what they really want is someone who is self-motivated and can provide immediate value,” Stein says. In other words, job applicants need to show prospective employers that they have the requisite leadership skills to provide immediate value to the company.
Experiential learning opportunities, like Northeastern’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership/1-Year Experiential program, allow you to develop marketable leadership skills while also earning a valuable degree.
Find the Right Industry
Since organizational leadership is needed in every organization, much of your salary potential depends on outside factors like industry and location. Here are the top industries that reward their leadership with competitive salaries:
- Administrative and Support Services: Business administrators guide an organization’s fiscal goals, employee development, and project prioritization.
- Manufacturing: In manufacturing fields, organizational managers oversee industrial projects and large-scale production operations.
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: Professional and technical industries rely on executives and directors to deploy resources effectively and ensure satisfactory client experiences or product deliverables.
- Health Care and Social Assistance: Public health managers are entrusted to put the right policies, procedures, and staff in place to properly serve patients.
- Wholesale Trade: Wholesale managers work to achieve the right balance of budgeting, inventory management, logistics, supplier relations, and demand management.
Increase Your Earning Potential
Earning an MS in Organizational Leadership to enter a high-paying industry can be a great way to ensure a comfortable financial future. With infinite career possibilities, this field of study is incredibly valuable to those who don’t want to be “put into a box.”
For prospective leaders, Northeastern’s experiential master’s program comes with many benefits. “It offers you an opportunity to network with industry leaders while you are getting the practical, hands-on experiences that will jumpstart your career,” Stein asserts. “The accelerated Master of Science in Organizational Leadership offers students an opportunity to complete this program in just one year.” Students unable to meet this demanding schedule can also take classes part-time and complete the program in 18–24 months.
Learn more about the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership/1-Year Experiential program at Northeastern and take your first step toward an exciting new career.