Best-Paying Careers for Women
Not long ago, women who wanted to work were often relegated to careers in teaching or nursing. Today there are female astronauts, business executives, lawyers, doctors, and politicians. But which fields are most lucrative, and why-besides a fat paycheck-should women consider them? Career experts Susan Wilson Solovic , Dr. Laurence Shatkin and Dr. Warren Farrell weigh in on the best-paying careers for women.
Careers in Medicine
Median salary for female M.D.s: $138,885*
Besides money, why consider this career? If raising a family is part of your plan, there’s great potential for flexibility.
Solovic, the CEO of SBTV.com in St. Louis, suggests areas like internal medicine, anesthesiology and dermatology as excellent fields for women who also plan to raise families. “Those medical areas are not quite as taxing and demanding as some of the others,” she explains. “For example, if you are a cardiac surgeon you could get called in the middle of the night and be doing surgery for six hours. It’s more difficult to manage these calls if you are also a caretaker in your family.”
Another possibility is concierge medicine, where doctors charge a yearly fee from a set number of patients while providing enhanced care. “This is good because it’s flexible, you can manage your schedule a little bit better,” Solovic notes. “One woman doctor I know who is a concierge doctor, she limits her practice now to 200 patients a year because she has small children.”
Careers in Information technology
Median salary for female IT consultants: $70,492*
Besides money, why consider this career? IT jobs are plentiful and increasingly friendly to women.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in IT for women, either starting their own businesses or working for places, like Google or Yahoo, that are innovative,” Solovic says, noting an abundance of IT jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections for 2006-2016, “demand for computer-related occupations” will rise in nearly all industries as organizations adopt more complex technologies.
“Technology is still dominated by men, but it’s becoming more friendly to women,” says Shatkin, a career information expert. “More and more of it is high-tech, where it doesn’t have the work conditions that are strenuous, difficult, mechanical. That’s proved very attractive [to women].”
Careers in Law
Median salary for female attorneys/lawyers: $69,696*
Besides money, why consider this career? Women interested in making partner have more options, as firms grow more flexible.
Law firms are becoming more flexible to retain talented women attorneys, Solovic says, giving them opportunities to stay on the partner track. “So many of the law firms were losing out. [There was a] huge trend for women exiting and not making partner … But now the trend is going the other way, where firms are recognizing the diversity of talent is critical for them to compete,” she notes.
Careers in Sales engineering
Median salary for female sales engineers: $62,427*
Besides money, why consider this career? Because women tend to be effective communicators, they’re well-qualified for these jobs.
Sales engineers work with companies’ production, engineering, or research and development departments, or with independent sales firms, to determine how products and services can be designed or modified for customers’ needs. These jobs, which require the background of an engineer and the qualities of a sales person, are an excellent fit for women, says Farrell, the California-based author of “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap-and What Women Can Do About It.” “Women tend to be better verbally. A lot of men who are scientists or engineers are not very good verbally. Women who select themselves to be engineers are successful,” he explains.
Careers in Financial services and investment counselors
Median salary for women in financial services: $53,890*
Besides money, why consider this field? Building relationships is key to many jobs-something women come by naturally.
Solovic says the financial-services sector offers “one of the most lucrative opportunities out there for women right now, but a very small percentage of women are tackling it and succeeding. But those who do are extremely successful at it.” She says women have natural characteristics well-suited to these jobs, like educating, communicating, and developing relationships.
*Salary data from PayScale.com.
Kristina Cowan has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues.