When it comes to finding a job, location matters—a lot. The importance of certain industries, the number and types of companies, the availability of labor, and the amount of money that jobs pay are all impacted by location.
The Seattle area’s economy has seen massive growth in recent years, adding more than 30,000 jobs between 2016 and 2017 alone. Driven largely by the growth of the tech industry—as well as the retail, healthcare, and business services industries—the rise in available jobs has led to record unemployment and a tightening labor pool. As a result, average hourly wages in the Seattle area for all occupations are up to $30.35 compared to the national average of $24.34.
This is good news for job seekers in Seattle.
Below, we explore the industries and career paths that offer some of the highest-paying, in-demand jobs in Seattle, and offer tips and advice that you can use to land the job of your dreams.
Highest-Paying Jobs and Industries in Seattle
1. Science & Technology
As mentioned above, the tech industry is booming in Seattle, thanks in large part to a number of successful tech companies based in the area, as well as many equally successful startups seeking to disrupt their industries.
Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Tableau are all vying for the same talent, leading to very competitive wages in the tech space. According to an analysis conducted by Zippia (using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data), these are the highest-paying science- and tech-focused jobs in the Seattle area:
- Computer & Information Systems Manager: $153,220
- Natural Sciences Manager: $152,380
- Computer & Information Research Scientist: $148,850
- Computer Programmer: $123,490
- Software Developer (applications): $122,530
2. Business & Professional Services
The explosive growth of tech in Seattle hasn’t just led to an increase in tech jobs, however. It’s also led to an increase in the number of job postings related to business and professional services. After all, any company, regardless of industry, needs skilled and talented management and leadership to be successful; and many of the largest companies rely on a number of smaller, outside teams for support in a range of their operations.
According to Zippia, this sector touts some of the highest salaries in the area, showing just how valuable successful leadership can be:
- Chief Executive: $213,410
- Marketing Manager: $143,790
- General & Operations Manager: $134,910
- Purchasing Manager: $132,110
- Financial Manager: $131,940
In 2017, Seattle became the decade’s fastest-growing large city in the United States, growing 18.7 percent since 2010. As any booming city or region can attest, economic growth often yields unexpected effects, including an increased population.
As the economy expands and companies find themselves with higher demand, more workers are needed to fill open positions, leading to an inflow of talent (along with their families). But that isn’t all: It also leads to an increase in the number of workers who are required to “support” this new, growing population.
One such “support” industry that has seen considerable growth in Seattle is the healthcare industry. (The expansion of the healthcare industry has also been correlated with an increased number of new startups in the healthcare space.)
All of this has led to impressive gains in salary for healthcare workers, with obstetricians, gynecologists, surgeons, physicians, internists, family and general practitioners, dentists, and psychiatrists claiming seven of the ten highest-paying jobs in Seattle. Excluding those clinical roles, the highest-paying healthcare related jobs in Seattle include:
- Health Specialties Teacher (Postsecondary): $140,440
- Medical & Health Services Manager: $131,700
- Physician Assistant: $113,730
- Nurse Practitioner: $104,770
- Physical Therapist: $89,160
Increase Your Chances of Landing a High-Paying Job in Seattle
If you’re based in the Seattle area and on the job hunt, it’s important to note that the tightening labor pool has led to more than just higher wages. It’s also led to increased competition, which can make it even more challenging to find yourself in one of these high-paying jobs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood of being chosen for one of these highly-desirable positions.
1. Take every opportunity to learn new skills and improve existing skills.
Whether you are fresh out of high school or your undergraduate studies or you’ve been in the workforce for years, it’s imperative that you perpetually reinforce and expand your skillset. Doing so will make it easier for you to move up within your current organization or even transition to a new company altogether.
Stay on top of industry news and trends to understand how technology and the changing global economy might influence your position. You can use this knowledge to learn new skills which in turn can lead to greater job stability and career options in the future. In addition to self-education, earning a certificate or attending a bootcamp or workshop related to your industry can be incredibly helpful.
2. Consider furthering your education with an advanced degree.
For many industries—especially those related to technology, science, and management—a graduate degree is required to move into a senior position. Even if an advanced degree isn’t required, it can serve as a differentiator between you and competing applicants, helping you to demonstrate expertise and proficiency in the skills required for the job.
Beyond giving you a competitive advantage, a graduate degree provides additional benefits that can make it a worthwhile investment, even if it’s not required of the position you are considering.
The key to success is finding the right degree that you can leverage to get the career that you want. Ultimately, the degree that will be right for you will depend on the type of work you want to do and the industry you want to work in.
- Those interested in the science and technology space may want to consider earning a master’s degree in computer science, data analytics, or engineering.
- Those interested in the healthcare space may want to consider earning an advanced degree in health informatics, physical therapy, or regulatory affairs.
- Those interested in a leadership position, regardless of industry, may want to consider earning an advanced degree in leadership, management, corporate and organizational communication, or project management—the skills of which can apply broadly across many industries.
3. Don’t forget about experience.
Being able to demonstrate applicable experience is just as important for many jobs as having the right educational background. For that reason, if you choose to pursue an advanced degree, seek one that includes an internship, co-op, or experiential learning opportunities—especially if the career you are trying to break into is one that you do not have experience working in.
Having relevant experience can often be the tiebreaker that employers use to choose between two applicants with comparable educational background.
If you’re based in the Seattle area and are looking for ways to land a high-paying job or advance in your career, the academic programs offered by Northeastern University-Seattle can help you do just that. By bringing together challenging academics, experiential learning, and faculty members with industry experience, they’re designed to meet the needs of Seattle area businesses.