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The Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree


Adzuna’s recent study into graduate pay found that Imperial College London is the university to attend if you want to earn the highest salary in your first year of work.

Earning the big bucks isn’t the sole reserve of university leavers of course – but which jobs that don’t require a degree are likely to pay the most?

We compared the average salaries of hundreds of job titles in our database of over 1.2 million ads to find out just that.

Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Need A Degree

  1. Pensions Manager £47,430
  2. Supply Chain Manager £45,928
  3. Technical Author £44,351
  4. HR Manager £43,951
  5. Dental Hygienists £41,741
  6. Tax Adviser £41,104
  7. Mechanic Supervisor £40,859
  8. Marketing Manager £40,139
  9. Purchasing Manager £39,836
  10. Satellite Engineer £39,559

You’ll notice there’s no chicken sexers or water slide testers on the list – these are jobs that you actually have a realistic chance of getting with hundreds of even thousands of vacancies around the country right now.

Interested in landing one of the highest paying jobs that don’t require a degree? Read on to find out

Pensions Manager

Pensions managers are responsible for seeing that a company’s pension scheme is sustainable and works effectively, often developing new policies, looking into funding strategies and developing other benefits packages.  You can get a foot on the pension management career ladder by starting out at an administrative or trainee level and working your way up.  Qualifications from professional bodies such as the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) can really help boost your CV.

See more accounting and financial jobs

Supply Chain Manager

Although some people go into supply chain management with a relevant degree, many more do not.  A Supply Chain Manager is responsible for seeing that goods or materials get from A to B as smoothly as possible, by purchasing products which are in demand, setting up logistics strategies for transport and delivery and tracking shipments to cut down delays.  With an average salary of £45,928, this is another career where earning qualifications on the job will help you progress.  The Institute of Supply Chain Management (IoSCM) is a good place to start.

See more logistic jobs

Technical Author

If you’ve got a way with words and good communication skills, then you can become a Technical Author without getting a degree.  Technical Authors work across a wide range of industries and write all sorts of materials, from product descriptions and instructions to software guides and training manuals.  The average salary for a Technical Author comes in at £44,351, and there’s always more support and training available from theInstitute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC).

See more writer jobs

HR Manager

Are you a people person?  Then a career as an HR Manager might be for you, and you don’t need anything beyond GCSEs to climb to the top.  As an HR Manager you’ll oversee a company’s HR policies and how it looks after the people who work for it, including recruitment, disciplinary practices, holidays, sickness and training programmes.  The quickest way to climb the HR pole to management level is by earning qualifications from the professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

See more HR jobs

Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienists carry out a range of tasks, such as cleaning teeth to prevent gum disease, removing plaque and applying antibacterial treatments.  They often run dental health education programmes too, so good personal and communication skills are a must in this role.  Average salaries come in at £41,741, and although you don’t necessarily need a degree to land the job, you will need to get a qualification from the General Dental Council (GDC) in order to practice.

See more healthcare jobs

Tax Advisor

You don’t need a degree to be a tax advisor, just a good head for figures and good analytical skills.  Most people start out at the bottom as a tax trainee or apprentice at a smaller firm and work their way up by gaining qualifications on the job, usually from either the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) or the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT).  With average salaries of just over £41,000, the role usually involves gaining a sound understanding of tax legislation and then using it to work magic for your clients by minimising the amount of tax they have to pay or managing their tax returns.

Mechanic Supervisor

Think you need an engineering degree to become a lead mechanic?  Think again.  A Mechanic Supervisor is usually responsible for overseeing everything that’s going on in a workshop or production line, often heading a team of more junior mechanics.  If you’ve got a passion for taking things apart and putting them back together, then this could be your dream job.  As well as being able to use the technical side of your brain, you might want to enhance your CV with qualifications such as an IVQ in Motor Vehicle Engineering or something similar.

See all mechanic jobs

Marketing Manager

The average salary for a Marketing Manager comes in at just over £40,000, and while some recruiters will demand a marketing degree, others will simply want to see you have commitment and passion.  Most people approaching this career path without a degree start out as apprentices or in more junior roles and gain three to five years’ experience before bagging that top job.  Day to day you’ll probably plan and manage the launch of new goods or services, plan social media campaigns and help boost your company’s brand image, and there are additional qualifications and training available from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

See more PR, marketing & advertising jobs

Purchasing Manager

No degree is no problem if you want to become a Purchasing Manager.  Purchasing Managers are responsible for seeing their company’s supply needs are met, by sourcing the best quality products for the lowest prices, ordering goods, negotiating deals, overseeing a company’s inventory and monitoring trends.  Lots of companies just want to see you gain experience within their purchasing department before applying for the top job, and many offer in-house training.  The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply offer qualifications to help boost your CV.

See more retail jobs

Satellite Engineer

There are no fixed requirements for becoming a Satellite Engineer, and most people start off as apprentices and build up their experience that way.  You might need to get a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card before you can work on a building site, but other than that most employers are happy to see you build your experience of electrical engineering on the job.  With enough training and experience, you could earn an average of £39,559 or even set up your own installation company and be your own boss.

See more engineering jobs


With over 15 years experience within the Recruitment industry, Mark considers digital publishing, digital engagement, recruitment marketing and advertising (all media), digital video production, creative design and more recently social media development as his core knowledge and where a lot of his experience lays.

Having been at the forefront of the digital publishing sector for well over a decade, Mark has founded numerous job boards and publishing businesses.

He has very strong business ethics, built on transparency and trust and equally as important, he enjoys close working relationships with all clients. A self-confessed digital geek Mark lives and breathes online media ensuring Recruitment Buzz stays ahead of the curve.


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