5 Careers: Big demand, big pay

Posted on: February 8, 2006


5 careers: Big demand, big pay
If you’re in one of the jobs listed here, you may be able to negotiate a sweet pay hike for yourself when changing employers.
By Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer

NEW YORK ( – Recent surveys show
that a lot of people are itching to find new jobs and human resource
managers are expecting a lot of movement – both signs that employers
may need to sweeten the pot.

There also have been predictions
that the labor market may start to tilt in favor of job seekers due to
a shortage of skilled workers. talked with specialists at national staffing and
recruiting firm Spherion to find out which job-hunting workers today
are sitting in the catbird seat when it comes to negotiating better pay.

Below is a list of in-demand workers in five arenas.


to Enron and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, those who have a few years
of corporate auditing experience working for a large public accounting
firm can negotiate a sweet package for themselves when they change jobs.

applies whether they’re leaving the accounting firm to go work for a
corporation or if they’re seeking to return to the public accounting
firm from an auditing job at an individual company.

graduates with an accounting degree but not yet a CPA designation might
make between $35,000 and $45,000 a year, or up to $50,000 in large
cities like New York. After a couple of years they can command a
substantial pay hike if they move to large company as an internal staff
auditor or to a smaller company as controller. At that point, their
salary can jump to anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000.

The expectation is that they will obtain their CPA designation.

they choose to return to a public accounting firm as an audit manager
after a couple of years at a corporation they can earn a salary of
$70,000 to $85,000.

Sales and marketing

The healthcare and biomedical fields offer some handsome earnings opportunities for those on the business side.

development directors, product managers and associate product managers
working for medical device makers, for instance, can do quite well for
themselves if they develop a successful track record managing the
concept, execution and sales strategy for a medical device before
jumping ship.

Typically, they have an MBA in marketing plus at
least two to three years’ experience on the junior end to between five
and eight years’ experience at the more senior levels. That experience
ideally will be in the industry where they’re seeking work.

associate product manager might make a base salary of $55,000 to
$75,000. A product manager can make a base of $75,000 to $95,000, while
a business development director may make $120,000 to $160,000. Those
salaries don’t include bonuses.

The business development director
seeking a vice president position could boost his base to between
$150,000 to $200,000 — depending on whether the new company is a risky
start-up or established device maker.


property attorneys specializing in patent law and the legal secretaries
who have experience helping to prepare patent applications are highly
desirable these days.

The most in demand are those lawyers with
not only a J.D. but also an advanced degree in electrical and
mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology,
pharmacology or computer science.

Even those patent lawyers who just have an undergraduate degree in those fields have a leg up.

lawyers working for a law firm might make $125,000 to $135,000 to start
or about $90,000 if they work for a corporation that’s trying to get a
patent or to protect one they already have. With a couple of years’
experience, they can expect a 10 percent jump or better when they get
another job.

Legal secretaries, meanwhile, might make $65,000 at
a law firm or $55,000 at a corporation. Should they choose to move to a
new employer, they can command close to a 10 percent bump in pay.


Two tech jobs in high demand these days are .NET (dot net) developers and quality assurance analysts.

who are expert users of Microsoft’s software programming language .NET
can make between $75,000 and $85,000 a year in major cities. (See correction.) If they pursue
a job at a company that seeks someone with a background in a given
field (say, a firm looking for a .NET developer experienced in using
software related to derivatives) they might snag a salary hike of 15
percent or more when they switch jobs.

Those who work in software
quality management, meanwhile, might make $65,000 to $75,000 a year and
be able to negotiate a 10 percent to 15 percent jump in pay if they
switch jobs.

Manufacturing and engineering

all the announced job cuts in the automotive industry, quality and
process engineers, as well as plant managers certified in what’s known
as "Lean Manufacturing" techniques, are hot commodities.

The same applies to professionals in similar positions at other types of manufacturers.

Lean Manufacturing technique is to use video cameras to capture the
manufacturing process. A quality engineer will analyze the tapes to
identify areas in the process that create inefficiencies or excess
waste, both in terms of materials and workers’ time.

Process and
manufacturing engineers might make between $65,000 and $75,000. With a
certification in lean manufacturing and a few years’ experience, they
can command pay hikes of between 15 percent and 20 percent if they
choose to switch jobs.

A plant manager making between $90,000 and $120,000 may expect to get a 10 percent raise or more.correction

The original version of this article incorrectly stated that .NET
developers can make between $75,000 and $85,000 in major cities "when
they’re starting out." In fact, that’s the salary range they can
command after a few years on the job during which they become expert in
using .NET. (Return to story.)


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