Back in primary school, whenever children were asked to write a “My Ambition” type of essay, the occupations that were most often listed included doctor, teacher, singer, pilot, scientist, and police, just to name a few. Parents always want their children to get a good education so that they can obtain a high-paying job and secure their future. That’s when these ambitious occupations slowly evolve into surgeon, dentist, banker, entreprenuer, researcher, CEO and other similar jobs with high salaries.

Fast forward a decade or two, how lucrative are these occupations in the ever-changing job landscape? Salary Explorer last month released its 2016 Highest Paying Jobs rankings, which determines the best paying jobs in the country based on the average monthly salary. Some are expected, but there are a few surprises within the list!

surgeon#1 Surgeon
RM 70,000
Considering the years of expensive and intensive medical studies, it’s no wonder that surgeons are well-paid in such an exhausting and stressful job. After all, they quite literally hold the lives of patients in their hands during surgeries.

#2 Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
RM 70,000
Although it does not involve human lives, CFOs are responsible for an entire company’s finances, which is pretty much its lifeline and the lifelihood of many employees. A single decision could make or break the company, so it is important that they understand the risks and make appropriate decisions.

marketing#3 Marketing Director
RM 55,000
The job title may not sound like much, but marketing directors are responsible for a whole lot of things, which include (but not limited to) leadership of the marketing department, planning marketing strategies, overseeing marketing compaigns and projects, controlling marketing budgets, and much more. It’s a complicated job that requires juggling a lot of things at the same time, which is why the stress level is probably proportionate to the salary.

#4 Clinical Research Associate (Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology)
RM 52,917
Good news for kids who are great at science subjects but don’t have the ambition to become a doctor. Researchers, especially in the fields of medicine and biotech, play an important role in the development of healthcare and green technology, and are paid well for their efforts. Time to hit the books, kids!

Boss-5-icon#5 Real Estate Broker
RM 50,000
You will notice that most – if not all – of the professions in this list require higher education certifications, with the notable exception of real estate broker. Successful brokers and real estate agents rely on charisma, connections, determination, and hard work (not to mention legwork) to get clients and close deals, which in turn lead to lucrative commissions.

#6 Risk Management Director (Insurance)
RM 40,111
Risk managers advise organisations on any potential risks to the profitability or existence of the company. They identify and assess threats, put plans in place for if things go wrong and decide how to avoid, reduce or transfer risks. Considering how much risk they handle, it’s only fair they are compensated accordingly.

#7 Strategy Director (Business)
RM 30,000
A business strategy director works with senior managers to determine the business’ direction and how to achieve business goals. It is a leadership position that requires constant focus on medium- and long-term goals, as well as dicussing strategies and plans to benefit and improve the business. Serious business calls for serious money, don’t you agree?

Paper-Plane-icon#8 Pilot
RM 29,375
Being a pilot is undoubtedly one of the coolest jobs in the world, but behind every pilot is many years of study and countless hours of training before they can take to the skies. Even then, (commercial plane) pilots are responsible for every single passenger on their flight, and be constantly alert and prepared for emergencies to ensure everyone’s safety. Frequent flights will also take its strain on pilots, both mentally and physically, so that 5-figure paycheck is well-earned.

marketing#9 Legal Service Director
RM 29,083
A legal services director oversees the activities of an organization’s legal department, provides legal advice and interpretation about contracts, laws and regulations, intellectual property, and other legal business affairs. The job requires a lot of legal know-how and years of experience to give appropriate advice. (Also, they will probably sue you if you don’t pay them enough, so that’s a good reason to pay them well.)

Road-Worker-1-icon#10 Electric and Gas Operations Manager (Oil & Gas)
RM 27,000
Most jobs in the oil and gas (O&G) industry are very well-paid, and when you’re expected to manage people who are experts in their own right, you’ve have to know what they are doing as well as your own responsibilities. Electric and gas operations managers are in charge of directing operations in the construction, maintenance, and repair of electric and gas distribution systems. Yeah, we don’t get it either, which is why we need experts like them to do the complicated and dangerous stuff.

Other high-paying jobs in Malaysia that can earn a monthly income of between RM25,000 and RM35,000 include biology teacher, commercial real estate manager, chief operating officer (COO), banking regional manager, and IT product manager. What surprised us the most was probably the job of biology teacher, although upon further consideration, a good surgeon (refer #1) would definitely need an excellent biology teacher to make sure they know the human anatomy, inside and out.

Still, it looks like being a real estate agent is a pretty good choice, and doesn’t require very high academic qualificiations. To all the agents out there who started from the bottom and reached the top, we salute you! And if you’re just beginning your real estate journey, perhaps can help you on your way. 😉