6 Types of Jobs That Can Pay $1 Million
Who wants to be a millionaire? Plenty of people would answer that question with a resounding “yes,” but for some, it’s already a reality. Though their numbers are relatively small, a select group of workers earn $1 million or more every year.
What do you have to do find yourself in the million-a-year-club? Jobs in entertainment, business, and finance are among the best compensated, but not everyone working in those fields will take home $1 million. Less than 1% of people in the United States are pulling down seven-figures annually, according to Bloomberg. Even in industries where ultra-high salaries are more common, they’re still not the norm, and it may take years before you work you way up to the top of the pay scale. Nonetheless, here are six jobs where million-dollar salaries are possible.
1. A-List actor
Bankable stars can take home multi-million dollar paychecks. Robert Downey Jr. earned $80 million in 2015, according to Forbes, making him the highest-paid actor in the world. He reportedly took home $40 million for his appearance in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. Jackie Chan made $50 million, in part from the historical epic Dragon Blade, which made $120 million in China.
2. Corporate CEO
The average CEO earns a respectable but hardly jaw-dropping $175,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet some chief executives earn much more. David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery Communications, earned $156.1 million in 2014, according to research by compensation benchmarking firm Equilar, making him the highest-paid CEO in the United States. The CEOs of companies like Qualcomm, Target, Boeing, and American Express all earned more than $20 million a year.
3. NBA player
Pro basketball players are among the best-paid athletes in the U.S., according to Forbes, with an average annual salary of $5.15 million. While the big earnings of stars like Kobe Bryant ($25 million) and LeBron James ($22.9 million) skew that number somewhat, nearly 350 NBA players earn more than $1 million per year, according to ESPN.
Successful screenwriters can earn $1 million or more for a script, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and a cool $500,000 for rewrites or script touch-ups. The typical writer wasn’t taking home a five-figure paycheck, though. Median earnings for writers were $125,000 in 2014, according to a report from the Writers Guild of America.
You don’t have to have a job in the C-suite to earn a seven-figure salary on Wall Street. Managing directors at top NYC investment banks like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs earned an average of $1 million a year in salary and bonuses, according to Business Insider.
6. Law firm partner
Making partner can translate into big bucks for lawyers. Partners at law firms in Silicon Valley earn an average of $1.17 million per year, according to Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Partner Compensation Survey. Partners at New York law firms reported average annual compensation of $1.1 million. Those who’d been partner for two decades or more also reported earning more than $1 million per year, on average.