The UK’s top 20 best paid jobs | New research from Indeed

Eleanor Shearer
Data Analyst
03 February 2021
3 minute read

Healthcare, data and sales: which drives the biggest salary?

You’d expect tax partners, CFOs and senior sales roles to dominate the list, but what about data modelers, orthodontists and tableau developers? The latest research from global jobs site Indeed might surprise you. Here are the top 20 best paid jobs in the UK right now, and the sectors commanding the biggest salaries.

The UK’s best paid jobs in 2021

Here are the top 20, according to Indeed.

  1. Data modeler - £145,726
  2. Tax partner - £127,357
  3. Security project manager - £124,208
  4. Contract consultant - £120,529
  5. User experience researcher - £118,261
  6. Chief financial officer - £115,467
  7. Active directory engineer - £114,000
  8. Tableau developer - £108,112
  9. Vice president of sales - £104,046
  10. Vice president - £101,933
  11. Medical director - £100,746
  12. Chief commercial officer - £98,272
  13. Orthodontist - £96,405
  14. Virtualisation engineer - £96,108
  15. Vice president of engineering - £95,912
  16. Neurosurgeon - £95,327
  17. Neonatologist - £95,183
  18. Paediatric consultant - £95,152
  19. Ophthalmologist - £93,876
  20. Anaesthesiologist - £93,711

Interestingly, last year’s number one spot went to chief financial officers (CFOs), with a take-home pay at the time of £112,666. Considerably lower than 2021’s top salary, which comes in at a whopping £145,726 for data modelers, on average. The CFO role now also trails behind tax partner, security project manager, contract consultant and user experience researcher, which all command upward of £115,000.

Healthcare roles also dominate 2021’s list. Seven of the 20 highest paid salaries currently go to healthcare specialists, with medical directors – earning £100,746 on average – just missing out on the top ten.

Looking more widely, which are the top-paying sectors in 2021?


It’s no surprise that data features prominently in the top 20, as a highly specialist area driving huge value and insight on a global scale. Data modelers, who take the top salary spot, design databases for organisations, translating data into meaningful analysis and computer systems. Tableau developers – developing and maintaining BI (business intelligence) and reporting solutions – come in at number eight on the list.

Finding and securing an experienced data modeler is no small task for a recruiter, and the salary reflects this, with companies generally competing for their attention. Indeed’s Bill Richards said:

“Data modeller is a role few people outside the tech and business worlds will have heard of. But its low profile may partly explain why it is so well paid; candidates with these specialist skills are rare and employers are fighting hard to win their attention – by offering high salaries.”

Sales and finance

From tax specialists and CFOs to senior sales roles and CCOs (chief commercial officers), sales and finance account for a fifth of the UK’s top 20 best-paid jobs. A contract consultant, number four on the list with a £120,529 average salary, could easily fall into this category too, depending on their specialism.

Digital development

A new addition to the list, talented user experience (UX) researchers are in high demand, attracting salaries of around £118,261. Ranking at number five on Indeed’s table, they now sit just above the average CFO.

Digital team roles and development are all over the top 20, as we’d expect. Active directory engineers – who help businesses run Microsoft’s Active Directory software package – are at number seven, followed by virtualisation engineers at number 14, and vice presidents (VPs) of engineering at number 15, just above a neurosurgeon.

Senior business and security roles

Alongside CFOs, VPs hit the top ten with average salaries pinned at £101,933. Security project managers also made an impressive new entry this year, at number three and an average salary of £124,208. We’d speculate on Covid having something to do with this, as businesses grappled to get up to speed with sudden new ways of working and operational change in 2020.

Medicine and healthcare

Medical specialisms made up nearly half of last year’s best-paid list, and dominated again this year with seven top 20 spots. At the top are medical directors, commanding £100,746, followed by orthodontists, neurosurgeons, neonatologists, paediatric consultants, and ophthalmologists respectively, with anaesthesiologists finishing up the top 20.

In the year that has demanded more of our healthcare system than in living memory, it’s worth noting the Metro’s point on the ‘pay disparity in this sector, as the average salary for an NHS nurse... is around £33,000.’

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