They’re some of the most nagging questions on every job seeker’s mind: How many people applied to this job? How many other eager candidates am I up against here? If the pile of applications is more like a teetering mountain, will I even be considered? Do I stand a chance?
Unfortunately, most of the time, these questions go unanswered as you sit and wait and hope to hear something—anything!—from one of those companies you applied to. And that silence sometimes raises other kinds of questions: Are hundreds or thousands of people applying for every measly opening I look at? Did I choose a particularly competitive path? Are there great, high-paying jobs out there where each opening doesn’t get so many applicants?
That’s exactly what researchers wanted to find out as they compiled a February 2021 report for Resume.io on the highest-paying jobs with the most and least competition. Using data from PayScale, they identified roles with an average U.S. salary of $75,000 or higher. To gauge which of those roles tend to be more and less competitive, they used LinkedIn to calculate the average number of applicants per open role on the first page of results—ranging from 1.2 for assistant city attorney to 159 for senior vice president of operations.
To be sure, the study is imperfect: For one thing, only approximately 25 postings were used to judge competition levels for each type of role. In addition, the rankings are based only on the number of LinkedIn applicants at a given moment in time; they don’t account for any other job sites each role was listed on or final candidate tallies.
However, this report still gives you a general sense of which roles might fall in that coveted overlapping section in the Venn diagram of “high-paying” and “least competitive.”
We’ve pulled out roles in engineering, sales, accounting, marketing, human resources, healthcare, education, and other areas that each saw an average of 30 applications per opening or fewer. All of the average salaries are above $75,000, and most are near or above the six-figure mark.
Here are 27 roles to consider—along with average salaries according to PayScale and average applicants per role according to the Resume.io research. (Note that PayScale’s database is updated nightly; the numbers below reflect the latest information as of March 2021.)
Interested in applying for one of these high-paying jobs with low competition? You can click on each role to search for current job openings on The Muse!
Engineering and Product Management
- Senior Mechanical Engineer (Average salary: $99,169; Average applicants: 19)
- Staff Engineer (Average salary: $101,737; Average applicants: 18.8)
- Software Engineering Manager (Average salary: $140,418; Average applicants: 17.1)
- Lead Software Engineer (Average salary: $119,069; Average applicants: 7.2)
- Solutions Architect (Average salary: $119,134; Average applicants:18.3)
- Senior Product Management Director (Average salary: $162,305; Average applicants: 27.3)
- Data Science Manager (Average salary: $136,022; Average applicants: 28.8)
- Senior UX Designer (Average salary: $103,605; Average applicants: 18.1)
Sales and Business
- Senior Sales Engineer (Average salary: $107,817; Average applicants: 15.7)
- Regulatory Affairs Manager (Average salary: $103,859; Average applicants: 17.7)
Accounting and Finance
- Internal Auditing Manager (Average salary: $101,211; Average applicants: 9.8)
- Risk Manager (Average salary: $87,848; Average applicants: 22.5)
- Corporate Controller (Average salary: $100,284; Average applicants: 27)
- Senior Pricing Analyst (Average salary: $78,096; Average applicants: 14.9)
- Senior Engineering Project Manager (Average salary: $117,224; Average applicants: 25.9)
- Demand Generation Director (Average salary: $128,046; Average applicants: 26.4)
- Director of Digital Marketing (Average salary: $101,806; Average applicants: 26.9)
- Compensation & Benefits Manager (Average salary: $88,056; Average applicants: 19)
- Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Manager (Average salary: $90,603; Average applicants: 18.4)
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Average salary: $103,010; Average applicants: 4.2)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (Average salary: $96,092; Average applicants: 9.8)
- Physician Assistant (Average salary: $97,991; Average applicants: 10)
- Pharmacist (Average salary: $115,311; Average applicants: 5.1)
- Clinical Educator (Average salary: $77,421; Average applicants: 17)
- School Principal (Average salary: $86,388; Average applicants: 3.9)