CareerBliss Data Reveals the Top 10 Jobs Where Having a Master’s Degree Pays Off

Online Career Community and Employment Information Hub Reveals Data Showing Incremental Growth in Salary with Higher Degree for Technology, Marketing and Finance Jobs

IRVINE, Calif.--()--CareerBliss, the leading online career community geared towards helping people find joy and success at every step of their careers with millions of listed job openings, employee happiness reviews and real-time salary reports, announces new data that explores the correlation between higher education and changes in average salary. The data shows that business managers, web designers as well as employees in finance and marketing with master’s degrees on average make more than colleagues that have spent less time in academia.

Salary Comparison: Bachelor’s versus Master’s Degrees


Bachelor’s Avg


Master’s Avg

Rank   Job Title     Salary     Salary     Growth %
1   Business Manager     $ 62,723.68     $ 80,439.55     22.02 %
2   Web Designer     $ 46,657.80     $ 59,218.32     21.21 %
3   Database Administrator     $ 75,807.21     $ 96,028.15     21.06 %
4   Managing Partner     $ 111,530.87     $ 139,671.59     20.15 %
5   Marketing Director     $ 79,133.73     $ 98,849.61     19.95 %
6   Program Director     $ 72,349.01     $ 89,568.32     19.22 %
7   Financial Advisor     $ 62,710.51     $ 77,625.64     19.21 %
8   Graphic Designer     $ 42,545.52     $ 52,457.67     18.90 %
9   General Manager     $ 79,818.09     $ 97,246.27     17.92 %
10   Staff Software Engineer     $ 79,104.09     $ 95,960.47     17.57 %

CareerBliss analyzed more than 600,000 data points from 2010 – 2011, evaluating salary averages among employees with post-secondary education and their profession to determine the top 10 jobs that show the highest pay increase from a bachelor’s degree to a post-graduate master’s degree. Rating number one are business managers, who with a higher degree had a 22 percent increase in pay over their counterparts with Bachelor of Arts Degrees. Rating at number ten, software engineers still received a 17 percent increase in pay for employees with a master’s versus software engineers with a Bachelor of Science degree.

However, this type of increase was not universal across the board. For example, CareerBliss data shows the average salary of a Principal Engineer with a master’s degree versus a Ph.D. fell by 5.42%, from $116,486.56 to $110,501.49.

Heidi Golledge, Co-founder and CEO of CareerBliss, says, “We absolutely see that in general, the average salary of an employee increases with additional education and a higher degree. However, this is not true 100% of the time. It can vary by industry and job title, making it essential for candidates to research the trends in a particular industry when weighing the decision of whether or not it would pay off to go back to school.”

CareerBliss data also explored which companies offered the largest percentage of salary increase for employees with higher education. For example, data shows Cisco Systems offers up to a 23% increase in pay for Software Engineers with a master’s degree versus a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree. In comparison, companies such as Northrop Grumman and TATA Consultancy Services did not see growth for employees with a higher degree. A Software Engineer with Northrop Grumman would make about the same salary having either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

Companies and Salary Comparison: Bachelor’s versus Master’s Degrees


Bachelor’s Avg

Master’s Avg


    Company     Job Title     Salary     Salary     Growth %
1     Cisco Systems     Software Engineer     $ 78,369.33     $ 101,983.24     23.15 %
2     Cognizant Technology Solutions     Programmer Analyst     $ 40,714.29     $ 48,846.15     16.65 %
3     IBM     Software Engineer     $ 72,998.07     $ 81,111.11     10.00 %
4     Lockheed Martin     Software Engineer     $ 77,874.50     $ 81,935.75     4.96 %
5     Northrop Grumman     Software Engineer     $ 83,196.26     $ 86,385.73     3.69 %

TATA Consultancy Services

    Assistant Systems Engineer     $ 43,000.00     $ 43,454.88     1.05 %
7     Infosys Technologies Limited     Software Engineer     $ 55,074.77     $ 55,097.20     0.04 %
8     WIPRO Technologies     Project Engineer     $ 51,250.00     $ 50,505.05     -1.48 %
9     IBM     Project Manager     $ 90,000.00     $ 87,235.70     -3.17 %
10     Booz Allen Hamilton     Senior Consultant     $ 92,998.90     $ 86,858.84     -7.07 %

Golledge of CareerBliss says, “While incremental compensation for a higher degree may vary from industry to industry, or company to company, CareerBliss data reveals that a general trend holds true: for those in business, marketing and finance having a master’s degree can pay off.”

About CareerBliss

CareerBliss is an online career community designed to help everyone find happiness in the workplace. An information hub for everyone who works, employers, job seekers and recruiters, CareerBliss offers the ability for people to find out what makes them happy and the ability to seek that out in other jobs or improve it in their current one using our Ph.D. Board of Advisors, more than six million independent company reviews and salary comparisons, and more than two million job listings.

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Alia Henson, Director of Communications

Release Summary

CareerBliss Data Reveals the Top 10 Jobs Where Having a Masters Degree Pays Off


Alia Henson, Director of Communications