High Impact and High Salary Career Options for High School Students

2 Nov, 2023 | Content for Educators

Students care about having a career that makes a difference, and earns them a high salary. This is one of the key findings to come out of our OxBright Careers Report, and we’re working to offer young people the resources they need to find and succeed in careers that align with their goals and values. 

That’s why this article will explore careers within key subject areas that have high potential for social impact and salary. We’ll explore careers in Engineering and Computer Science, Medicine, Law, Business and Economics, Politics and International Relations, and Psychology and Neuroscience.

But, before we jump into the careers…

What Is the OxBright Career Report?

At OxBright, we’ve collated data from 3016 students who completed our Career Test to highlight key trends and insights concerning how Gen-Z view their careers and futures.

Our Career Test Report is based on responses from students at more than 1500 schools across the world. This allows us to find out what matters most to students when they’re exploring careers, as well as which skills students are most and least confident with.

What is the OxBright Career Test?

The OxBright Career Test asks students to score themselves from 1-5 in a series of questions about their skills, interests and preferences in relation to their future. Students who complete the test receive tailored career recommendations, along with resources and insights to empower them on their journey towards a fulfilling career.

What are the key findings of the OxBright Career Test Report?

Students were asked to score (1-5) how far they agreed that certain factors were important to them when considering careers. Of these factors, impact and salary consistently scored the highest. The average score for salary was 4.21, and the average score for impact was 4.23. Nearly half, 49.6%, of students scored impact a 5, with only 1.9% scoring it a 1. It’s clear that it matters to students whether their careers make a positive impact.

However, our data found that as students’ score for impact increased, the average score for salary plateaued, and even fell marginally as impact score increased from 4 to 5. This might suggest that students looking to create positive change in their work are more willing to accept a lower salary for an impactful role, or are less concerned with making a higher salary overall.

In the Report, we identify seven key trends in the way young people are viewing careers, and we’ve summarised these into two additional key takeaways, which we’ll discuss further in future blog posts:

Most students lack adequate work experience. Students might like to look into work experience opportunities early, and to reach out to companies or individuals that they’re interested in learning from.

It’s okay to be uncertain about your future career path! With so many options available, it’s important for young people to continue exploring all avenues open to them. External academic courses are a great way to test drive a subject or career path, increasing clarity and improving skills.

Engineering & Computer Science Careers

OxBright Computer Science student working on their laptop

In an increasingly digital and tech-driven world, careers in Engineering and Computer Science offer highly valuable skills. These skills can be applied to tackle a range of pressing challenges, from environmental sustainability, to problems in healthcare or finance. Thus, Engineering and Computer Science offer a wide range of careers, with the potential to make a large positive impact and earn a high salary by solving complex problems.

Our top three careers are:


1. Software Engineer

What does a Software Engineer do?

Software Engineers design, develop and maintain software applications and systems. They solve complex problems and ensure software runs efficiently and securely. Through this, they contribute to the creation of digital tools and applications that we use daily.

How can Software Engineers create a positive impact?

Software Engineers can create innovative solutions, improve the accessibility of technology, and drive technological advancements. For example, many engineers work on projects that make daily life more efficient or develop software for medical applications, which can positively impact countless lives.

What salary can Software Engineers earn?

In the UK, Software Engineers can earn between £30,000 to £90,000 per year. In the US, the annual salary can range from $60,000 to $160,000.


2. Data Scientist

What does a Data Scientist do?

Data Scientists analyse and interpret complex data to extract insights and patterns. They apply statistical analysis, machine learning, and data mining techniques. They therefore play a vital role in data-informed decision-making across various industries.

How can Data Scientists create a positive impact?

Data Scientists use data to make informed decisions and solve real-world problems. They can work on projects related to healthcare, finance and environmental sustainability, contributing positively to these fields.

What salary can Data Scientists earn?

In the UK, Data Scientists can earn from £35,000 to £100,000 annually. In the US, salaries can range from $70,000 to $150,000.


3. Sustainability Consultant

What does a Sustainability Consultant do?

A Sustainability Consultant advises businesses and organisations on adopting environmentally responsible practices. They help clients reduce their environmental footprint, implement sustainable strategies, and achieve certifications like LEED. They are integral to creating a more eco-friendly future.

How can Sustainability Consultants create a positive impact?

Sustainability Consultants help organisations become environmentally responsible, which has a positive impact on the planet and future generations. They work on initiatives related to reducing carbon footprints, waste management, and sustainable practices.

What salary can Sustainability Consultants earn?

In the UK, Sustainability Consultants can earn between £30,000 to £80,000 per year. In the US, salaries range from $50,000 to $100,000.

Medicine Careers

OxBright Medicine students practising clinical skills with a stethoscope

A career in Medicine offers the opportunity to earn a high salary while simultaneously making a profoundly positive impact on individuals and communities. Through their expertise, healthcare professionals not only enjoy financial rewards but also play a pivotal role in improving the health and well-being of countless patients, making it a rewarding and socially beneficial career choice.

Our top three careers are:


1. Specialist Doctor

What does a Specialist Doctor do?

Specialist Doctors provide specialised medical care in areas like cardiology, neurology or surgery. They diagnose and treat complex medical conditions, often requiring advanced procedures and specialised knowledge.

How can Specialist Doctors create a positive impact?

Specialist Doctors directly impact patient health and well-being by providing advanced medical care and expertise. Specialist Doctors save lives and improve the quality of life for countless patients across their career. There are also opportunities to get involved with public health campaigns, and to support related social movements.

What salary can Specialist Doctors earn?

In the UK, Specialist Doctors earn £60,000 to £150,000, or more. In the US, $150,000 to $400,000.


2. Surgeon

What does a Surgeon do?

Surgeons perform surgical procedures to treat injuries, diseases or deformities. Specialties include cardiovascular surgery, orthopaedic surgery and more.

How can Surgeons create a positive impact?

Surgeons directly and significantly impact patients’ lives by performing surgical interventions to improve health and save lives. Their expertise is critical in complex medical cases.

What salary can Surgeons earn?

In the UK, Surgeons can earn £75,000 to £150,000 or more. In the US, salaries vary widely, with many earning over $300,000.


3. Medical Researcher

What does a Medical Researcher do?

Medical Researchers conduct scientific studies to advance medical knowledge and improve healthcare, by investigating diseases, testing new treatments, and contributing to medical breakthroughs.

How can Medical Researchers create a positive impact?

Medical Researchers work at the forefront of improving patient care and the understanding of medical conditions, contributing to the development of new treatments and therapies.

What salary can Medical Researchers earn?

In the UK, Medical Researchers can earn between £30,000 and £70,000. In the US, $50,000 to $120,000 or more.


Law Careers

Students participating in a moot legal trial, testing out law careers.

A career in Law provides the potential for a substantial income alongside the opportunity to create a positive impact on society. Lawyers and legal professionals navigate complex legal issues, advocate for justice, and uphold the rule of law, making a meaningful difference in individuals’ lives and society as a whole.

Our top three careers are:


1. Corporate Lawyer

What does a Corporate Lawyer do?

Corporate Lawyers specialise in legal matters related to businesses and organisations. They provide legal advice, draft contracts and handle various legal aspects of corporate operations.

How can Corporate Lawyers create a positive impact?

Corporate Lawyers ensure that businesses operate within legal boundaries and uphold ethical and legal standards. They support the smooth functioning of companies and compliance with regulations, and the promotion of corporate social responsibility.

What salary can Corporate Lawyers earn?

In the UK, Corporate Lawyers can earn between £40,000 and £100,000. In the US, $70,000 to $190,000 or more.


2. Human Rights Advocate

What does a Human Rights Advocate do?

Human Rights Advocates promote and protect human rights and civil liberties by working on issues like discrimination, social justice and legal reforms.

How can Human Rights Advocates create a positive impact?

Human Rights Advocates champion important causes and work to bring about positive changes in society. They increase awareness, equality and legal reforms, and protect people’s fundamental rights.

What salary can Human Rights Advocates earn?

In the UK, Human Rights Advocates can earn £25,000 to £60,000. In the US, $40,000 to $80,000.


3. Environmental Lawyer

What does an Environmental Lawyer do?

Environmental Lawyers focus on legal cases related to environmental protection and sustainability. They represent clients in actions involving pollution, land use and resource management.

How can Environmental Lawyers create a positive impact?

Environmental Lawyers create a positive impact by upholding environmental laws and safeguarding natural resources. Thus, they contribute to preserving the environment for future generations.

What salary can Environmental Lawyers earn?

In the UK, Environmental Lawyers earn between £40,000 and £80,000. In the US, $60,000 to $130,000 or more.


Business & Economics Careers

OxBright Business students working on a group project

A career in Business and Economics can lead to financial success while simultaneously fostering positive change within organisations and communities. Professionals in these fields play a pivotal role in driving innovation, improving efficiency and sustainability, and promoting economic prosperity, all while securing their own financial success.

Our top three careers are:


1. Sustainable Finance Analyst

What does a Sustainable Finance Analyst do?

A Sustainable Finance Analyst assesses investment opportunities based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to support ethical and sustainable investments.

How can Sustainable Finance Analysts create a positive impact?

Sustainable Finance Analysts direct investments towards environmentally and socially responsible projects, encouraging ethical financial decisions.

What salary can Sustainable Finance Analysts earn?

In the UK, Sustainable Finance Analysts earn between £35,000 and £80,000. In the US, $60,000 to $120,000.


2. Corporate Responsibility Manager

What does a Corporate Responsibility Manager do?

A Corporate Responsibility Manager oversees a company’s efforts to integrate ethical and socially responsible practices. They manage sustainability initiatives, community engagement and responsible business practices.

How can Corporate Responsibility Managers create a positive impact?

Corporate Responsibility Managers promote responsible and ethical business practices, benefitting society, the environment, and the company’s reputation.

What salary can Corporate Responsibility Managers earn?

In the UK, Corporate Responsibility Managers earn £40,000 to £80,000. In the US, $60,000 to $110,000 or more.


3. Entrepreneur

What does an Entrepreneur do?

Entrepreneurs establish and run a business or startup, developing innovative ideas, products or services and managing all aspects of their business.

How can Entrepreneurs create a positive impact?

Entrepreneurs drive economic growth, create jobs, and can bring about transformative changes through innovative solutions. Many successful entrepreneurs also use their high salaries to make significant charitable donations to beneficial causes.

What salary can Entrepreneurs earn?

Entrepreneurial incomes can vary significantly, with potential for substantial financial rewards depending on the success of the venture.


Politics & International Relations Careers

OxBright student at a Model UN, trialing a career

A career in Politics and International Relations provides an opportunity to influence policy, diplomacy and global affairs. Those engaged in these fields can shape the direction of nations, address critical global issues, and work towards a more peaceful and just world.

Our top three careers are:


1. Diplomat

What does a Diplomat do?

Diplomats represent a country’s interests, negotiate agreements, and maintain international relations. They address global issues and foster diplomatic relations.

How can Diplomats create a positive impact?

Diplomats work towards international cooperation, peace and the resolution of global challenges.

What salary can Diplomats earn?

In the UK, Diplomatic salaries can range from £30,000 to £80,000. In the US, annual salaries can vary from $50,000 to $110,000 or more.


2. Policy Analyst

What does a Policy Analyst do?

A Policy Analyst examines political trends, policies and events to provide insights, forecasts and expert analysis on political issues.

How can Policy Analysts create a positive impact?

Political Analysts contribute to informed decision-making and public understanding of complex political matters. They can influence policy towards positive outcomes.

What salary can Policy Analysts earn?

In the UK, Political Analysts can earn from £30,000 to £70,000 annually. In the US, salaries can range from $50,000 to $100,000 or more.


3. International Development Expert

What does an International Development Expert do?

International Development Experts work to improve living conditions in developing countries. They implement projects related to health, education, infrastructure and sustainable development.

How can International Development Experts create a positive impact?

International Development Experts make a significant impact by addressing poverty, inequality and promoting sustainable development.

What salary can International Development Experts earn?

Salaries for International Development Experts can vary based on organisations and project locations. In the UK, they can earn from £25,000 to £45,000, while in the US, salaries can range from $40,000 to $60,000 or more.



Psychology & Neuroscience Careers

OxBright Psychology student writing in notebook

In the midst of the ongoing mental health crisis, a career in Psychology and Neuroscience takes on heightened significance, as it provides an opportunity to make a positive impact on individuals’ mental well-being. Professionals in these fields play a crucial role in addressing the escalating mental health challenges, offering therapeutic support, conducting research, and contributing to the solutions needed to improve mental health on both individual and societal levels.

Our top three careers are:


1. Clinical Psychologist

What does a Clinical Psychologist do?

Clinical Psychologists provide mental health care, and diagnose and treat psychological disorders. They offer therapy and counselling to individuals and groups.

How can Clinical Psychologists create a positive impact?

Clinical Psychologists improve mental health and well-being, help people overcome challenges, and enhance people’s quality of life.

What salary can Clinical Psychologists earn?

In the UK, Clinical Psychologists can earn between £30,000 and £80,000. In the US, $50,000 to $120,000 or more.


2. Neuroscientist

What does a Neuroscientist do?

Neuroscientists study the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. They research various aspects of neuroscience, from cognition to disorders.

How can Neuroscientists create a positive impact?

Neuroscientists contribute to our understanding of the brain, which can lead to breakthroughs in treatments for neurological conditions and mental health.

What salary can Neuroscientists earn?

In the UK, a Neuroscientist’s salary ranges between £30,000 and £70,000. In the US, $50,000 to $100,000 or more.


3. Educational Psychologist

What does an Educational Psychologist do?

Educational Psychologists focus on the intersection of psychology and education. They study how students learn and develop, and apply psychological principles to enhance teaching and learning methods.

How can Educational Psychologists create a positive impact?

Educational Psychologists contribute to improving educational systems, enhancing teaching techniques, and helping students overcome learning challenges.

What salary can Educational Psychologists earn?

In the UK, Educational Psychologists can earn between £35,000 to £65,000. In the US, salaries can range from $60,000 to $100,000 or more.

This article has highlighted careers that create a positive impact on society, whilst also attracting high salaries. Young people have shown that both impact and salary are crucial to their decisions about future careers, and so it’s vital that they’re able to explore careers which offer both. 

Students don’t need to decide between a career that makes a positive impact, and one which earns a high salary – it’s possible to find a career that does both. This list is a good place to begin exploring career options, but it’s by no means an exhaustive offering; by continuing to explore subject interests and options, students will narrow down their own best career paths.


By Izzy Mencattelli

Izzy is a graduate of Oxford University, where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Whilst studying, she developed a particular interest in ethics, and wrote her undergraduate thesis on the ethics of the family. Alongside her studies, she volunteered on numerous charity projects, and spent a year as President of Oxford RAG. Izzy now works as Project Executive at OxBright, supporting the delivery of a range of projects to help students get the edge for their futures.

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