Most job seekers focus on getting the highest-paying position, just like a lot of students seriously consider which careers deliver the best paychecks before deciding on a major.
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But scoring a great job (or high-paying first job) isn't the only path to a generous salary. Work with good potential for substantial raises is another strategy. According to a recent Finder.com analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, certain jobs are most likely to provide big raises. Animal doctors and EMTs are just a few of the jobs most likely to have a substantial bump in pay in 2018, based on those positions that experienced the highest wage increase from 2016 to 2017.
Here are Finder's eight careers with the biggest potential for a larger pay raise than most, based on median salary:
Associate veterinarian Alex Becket, left, looks on as zookeeper Sara Jablonski feeds carrots to a diabetic ring-tailed lemur at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Mass., March 15, 2018. The lemur has been under treatment and observation for diabetes for nearly 6 years, and zookeepers feed the lemur by hand in order to carefully monitor the sugar intake of the animal.
Photo: M. Scott Brauer/The New York Times
1. Veterinarians: 38 percent wage increase from 2016 to 2017, from $69,576 median salary in 2016 to $95,680 in 2017
2. Surveying and mapping technicians: 36.74 wage increase, from $42,172 to $57,668
3. Producers and directors: 28.03 percent wage increase, from $60,476 to $77,428
4. Financial clerks: 27.4 percent wage increase, from $36,816 to $46,904
5. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics: 26.32 percent wage increase, from $40,508 to $51,168
6. Meeting, convention, and event planners: 24.57 percent wage increase, from $45,084 to $56,160
7. Food processing workers, all other: 23.58 percent increase, from $28,444 to $35,152
8. Parts salespeople: 23 percent wage increase, from $33,228 to $40,872.00
Along with sheer number-crunching for jobs that offered workers the best raises, Finder also completed research that indicated there is still a wage gap for men and wome. Within the jobs that offer the top 10 pay raises, men still experienced a 7 percent higher wage increase than women, on average, Finder’s analysis found.
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When figures were broken down by gender for raises made from 2016 to 2017, Finder indicated these three careers as the ones with the best potential for women who want high raises:
1. Construction and extraction occupations: 26 percent wage increase
-- PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE AUG. 6, 2017. -- Yifat Oren, an event planner for the rich and famous, at a backyard party she is hosting in Los Angeles, July 21, 2017. Oren is one in an elite class of Hollywood event planners whose inconspicuousness has positioned her as an ally for clients who don’t want coverage of their parties.
Photo: Laura Austin/The New York Times
2. Meeting, convention and event planners: 25 percent wage increase
3. Insurance underwriters: 23 percent wage increase
In contrast, men who worked as surveying and mapping technicians took home the highest raises in the gender-specific stats, with 41 percent wage increases between 2016 and 2017, following by pay bumps for (39 percent) and emergency medical technicians and paramedics (36 percent).
And even the best employee in those fields should not assume a great raise will be forthcoming, noted Finder's consumer advocate Jennifer McDermott.
"While this analysis gives a guide of the likelihood and potential increase of a raise, it's important to remember that if you have been in your current role for a year or more, and have been making a valuable contribution, you are in a good position to request an increase," she said. "Make sure you are well prepared with an outline of why you deserve a raise, detailing specific achievements and why you are deserving. Also come prepared with a figure and be prepared for your boss to negotiate."