5 High Paying Jobs That Require Good Research Skills

Many of the groundbreaking innovations and convenience that humans enjoy today are the result of hundreds of years of research. Many academics and career-driven people in high-paying jobs get their first taste of research when they complete school projects, and their research abilities intensify as they pursue higher education.

These research skills are not only important for enhancing their personal and professional development, but they can also be applied in non-academic settings.

Examples of research skills include information seeking tactics, strong attention to detail, note taking, excellent time management skills, problem solving skills and communication of results.

These skills can be developed in a research-based postgraduate program.

The data also shows that postgraduate degree holders earn more than both degree holders and non-graduates.

To put it into context, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary earned by US workers was US$58,260 per year.

The median usual weekly salary for a master’s degree graduate is $1,497, or nearly $72,000 per year.

“Each level of education you complete can help you develop more skills, give you access to better paying professions, and signal that you are able to complete important tasks, such as planning ahead and meeting deadlines, which employers appreciate,” notes the BLS.

The type of jobs you can get depends on the specific fields in which you choose to pursue an interest or gain qualifications, but a postgraduate qualification can help candidates secure employment that pays better than the average worker report home.

That being said, here are five jobs candidates with strong research skills can pursue. Average salary estimates for each job are consistent with BLS data.


Students with a postgraduate degree could increase their chances of landing a well-paying job. Source: Remy Gabalda/AFP

Median annual salary: US$108,350 per year (May 2020)

Postgraduate programs recommended for this position: MSc Economics, MSc Applied Science or PhD in Economics

Economists collect and analyze financial and socioeconomic data, advise businesses and governments on economic decisions, and develop economic forecasting models.

An economist, or research economist, studies and analyzes market activity. They examine the larger sphere of production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and assessing economic issues.


Average annual salary: USD 125,300 (May 2021)

Recommended postgraduate programs for this role: MSc Actuarial Science, MSc Mathematics

Recommended advanced certification: Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA)

An actuary analyzes and manages the financial risks of a company. Research aspects that are embedded in the role include using advanced statistics and modeling to understand data, identifying liabilities and risks, identifying trends, and assisting actuaries in the design and pricing of insurance policies. They also identify and verify new sources of data.

To be successful in this role, actuarial analysts must have strong math and analytical skills. With hindsight, actuaries make strategic decisions and communicate solutions to complex financial problems.


High Paying Job #3: Pharmacologist

An experimental pharmacologist uses their research skills to develop new drugs by studying chemical compounds and putting in hours of lab work. This in-demand job is one of the highest paying jobs for graduates. Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

Median annual salary: US$128,710 (May 2021)

Postgraduate programs recommended for this position: MSc in Pharmacy, MSc in Biochemistry, PhD in Pharmacology

The roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist include dispensing prescription medications, providing pharmaceutical information to healthcare professionals, ensuring customers do not mix medications that cause adverse medical effects, and educating customers on the safe use of medications.

Pharmacists often work in clinical settings. Through research and clinical trials, pharmacists help doctors determine which drug therapies offer the best effective treatment for various diseases. Pharmacists also determine which medications may be over-prescribed or under-used.

Management Analyst

Median annual salary: US$87,660 (May 2020)

Postgraduate programs recommended for this position: MBA, MSc Finance

A management analyst is responsible for conducting and preparing operating procedures and operating manuals to help a company’s management run its business more effectively and efficiently.

They conduct surveys and research and analyze current organizational processes to find opportunities for improvement.

The information collected can be used to provide recommendations for improvement to key stakeholders and decision makers. They will also keep leadership and management teams informed of ongoing progress and challenges facing the organization.

Computer and information researchers

High Paying Job #5: Computer and Information Researchers

Most of the modern age computing technologies that humans benefit from today were invented and designed by computer and information researchers. Source: Christophe Simon/AFP

Median annual salary: $126,830 (2020)

Recommended postgraduate programs for this role: MSc Computer Science or PhD Computer Science.

Computer and information researchers conduct hours of research to study new uses for existing technology, and they use the results of their research to invest in and design new computer technologies. They study and solve complex computer problems in various fields, whether for medical technology, business operations or laboratory work for scientists.

Computer scientists and information researchers find out what complex problems affect people in terms of computing needs. They then develop theories and models to solve these problems and proceed to invent, develop, or design practical solutions to solve existing computing problems.

After analyzing the results of their experiments, computer and information researchers will publish their findings in academic journals.

Paul N. Strickland