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Build Your Career Get Ahead

The Job Skills You Need to Make More Money

The Job Skills You Need to Make More Money
Credit: Fotogestoeber/Shutterstock

When you possess skills that employers are in need of most, you'll not only boost your chances of landing a job, you'll also have the best chance to earn a high salary at the same time, according to new research from the salary comparison website PayScale.

For example, employees working in business and financial jobs who are skilled in mergers and acquisitions have salaries that are 18.1 percent higher than the average pay for workers in their field, while those in computer jobs who are proficient in the Go programming language earn 22.4 percent more than the average salary in their industry.

"Depending on your line of work, there are certain in-demand skills that — should you possess them — can equate to a bump in pay compared to the average salaries in your professional field," the study's authors wrote. "Mastering these skills will likely help you earn a higher salary."

PayScale has highlighted the top skills in a variety of fields that offer employees the best chance to boost their pay:

Management occupations

  • IT risk: 16.5 percent
  • SAP business intelligence: 16.1 percent
  • Mergers and acquisitions: 15.8 percent

Business and financial operations occupations

  • Mergers and acquisitions: 18.1 percent
  • SAP supply chain management: 16.5 percent
  • Systems engineering: 15.1 percent

Computer and mathematical occupations

  • Go: 22.4 percent
  • Cisco UCCE/IPCC: 22.1 percent
  • Scala: 21.8 percent

Architecture and engineering occupations

  • Clinical research: 13.3 percent
  • Well production engineering: 12.6 percent
  • Machine learning: 12.5 percent

Life, physical and social science occupations

  • Machine learning: 22.6 percent
  • Business strategy: 19.4 percent
  • Data mining/data warehouse: 18 percent

Community and social service occupations

  • Utilization review: 17.5 percent
  • Strategic planning: 15.1 percent
  • Functional analysis: 8.3 percent

Legal occupations

  • Mergers and acquisitions: 23 percent
  • Concordance discovery management: 13 percent
  • Tax compliance: 11.6 percent

Education, training and library occupations

  • Legal research: 12.6 percent
  • Clinical education: 3.9 percent
  • Articulate-E-Learning software: 3.6 percent

Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media

  • Autodesk AliasStudio: 9.8 percent
  • User experience design: 6.7 percent
  • User interface design: 6.1 percent

Health care practitioners and technical occupations

  • Emergency medicine: 9.2 percent
  • Sales management: 6.8 percent
  • Mail-order pharmacy: 6.6 percent

Health care support occupations

  • Dermatology: 6.6 percent
  • Nursery: 6.2 percent
  • CAD/CAM: 6.1 percent

Food preparation and serving-related occupations

  • Hiring: 4.2 percent
  • Scheduling: 3.3 percent
  • Customer relationship management: 2.6 percent

Personal care and service occupations

  • Weight loss/weight management: 2.4 percent
  • Transport: 2.2 percent
  • Childhood education: 1.9 percent

Sales and related occupations

  • IT security and infrastructure: 16 percent
  • Cisco networking: 15.8 percent
  • Profit and loss statements: 13.2 percent

Office and administrative support occupations

  • SureTrak (Primavera): 23.3 percent
  • Investment management: 20.7 percent
  • Intellectual property: 13.5 percent

Construction and extraction occupations

  • Shielded metal arc welding: 19.6 percent
  • Programmable logic controllers: 9.6 percent
  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding: 8 percent

While the above skills are definitely ones employees want to highlight on their resumes, there are others they are best served leaving off. The research found that highlighting some skills can actually result in lower pay. [See Related Story: Got a Diploma? Employers Would Rather See These Skills]

For example, those in management jobs who list "filing" as one of their top skills are paid 15.4 percent less than the average salary in their field.

"It's a skill, yes, but it's so common that presenting it as one of your top skills may actually lead to a lower salary," the study's authors wrote. "It's assumed workers possess these 'foundational' skills, so listing them as highlights may lead employers to believe you lack more advanced skills that would make you a more valuable employee or desirable candidate."

The skills employees highlight on their resume that result in the biggest pay decrease are:

  • Filing: 15.4 percent
  • Property management: 15.1 percent
  • Data entry: 15 percent
  • Bookkeeping: 14.5 percent
  • AS/4000: 14.3 percent
  • Call center: 14.2 percent
  • Help desk/desk support: 13.5 percent
  • Collections: 12.8 percent
  • Intuit QuickBooks: 12.5 percent

Overall skills data for the research was collected between March 2014 and March 2016 from more than 2 million U.S. workers who completed the PayScale employee compensation survey.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.