11 Jobs That Give You the Best Chances to Get Ahead

If you’re looking for a job, or picking a new career path, don’t just look at how much it’ll pay.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Making more money is one of the major reasons people hunt down new jobs and try to choose the best career, but there’s another aspect that’s just as important: Long-term opportunities to get ahead. 

How likely is it that you’ll lock in a promotion and a raise? What are the growth options at the company? Will it help you stop living paycheck to paycheck

Here are 11 jobs that will give you the best odds of getting ahead.

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Construction manager

Halfpoint/Adobe  engineer standing on construction site

Median salary: $95,260 per year
Projected growth: 5%

Construction projects start and end with the manager. They plan, budget, and supervise projects. That includes monitoring and deciding what happens at a construction site.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree. The average annual promotion rate is 9.7%, according to ADP, with an average raise rate of 17.9%.

Financial manager

kerkezz/Adobe consulting with a financial manager at the bank

Median salary: $131,710 per year
Projected growth: 17%

Financial managers are needed in multiple industries like accounting, banking, insurance, investing, and securities sales. 

Their job includes generating reports, managing investments, and figuring out long-term financial goals for their employer. Financial managers also need a bachelor’s degree. 

The internal promotion rate is 18% higher than the national average, according to Rutgers University.

Marketing manager

Jacob Lund/Adobe woman giving presentation over new advertising in office

Median salary: $135,030 per year
Projected growth: 10%

The marketing field is vast and multifaceted across American industries. 

There are lots of projects and many duties to handle, but at its core, the job is all about getting people interested in a company’s product. Managers plan programs to achieve that. 

The internal promotion rate is 94% higher than the national average, according to Rutgers, and you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree.

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Product manager

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe man using his laptop while his colleague standing in the background

Median salary: $127,625 per year
Projected growth: The BLS does not yet track growth for product managers.

Product managers have a hand in the entire lifecycle of a product, from the initial vision to bringing it to market, where it will finally end up in consumers’ hands. 

Their responsibilities are vast — everything from communicating objectives, managing teams, and hitting deadlines to sales forecasts and inventory delivery.

Product managers have to do a little bit of everything, but no other job comes close to having the same promotion rate: it’s 149% above the national average, according to Rutgers.

Purchasing manager

auremar/Adobe shipping manager and a worker

Median salary: $127,150 per year
Projected growth: -6%

Purchasing managers oversee a company’s buyers and agents, who procure products and services for businesses. 

Despite the fact that the industry is expected to tighten up, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be an average of 47,400 openings every year for the next decade. 

The promotion rate is 12% higher than the national average, according to Rutgers, and you need a bachelor’s degree.

Sales manager

insta_photos/Adobe business executive leaders making handshake agreement

Median salary: $127,490 per year
Projected growth: 5%

Sales managers supervise the sales operations of a company or organization. They need to make sure their teams hit their quotas while developing and maintaining relationships with clients. 

A bachelor’s degree is usually required, as is experience as a sales rep. The promotion rate is 13% above the national average, according to Rutgers.

Project management specialist

Gorodenkoff/Adobe managers use laptop and tablet computers at a company meeting

Median salary: $94,500 per year
Projected growth: 7%

Project management specialists have myriad responsibilities, including budgeting, scheduling, and staffing. They also lead the technical staff and can serve as the point person for the client. 

A bachelor’s degree in a field like business or project management is typical, and certification is useful. Per Rutgers, the promotion rate is a whopping 51% above the national average.

Management analyst

opolja/Adobe coworkers team picture in modern office

Median salary: $93,000 per year
Projected growth: 11%

Management analysts are business consultants who figure out ways for an organization to boost its efficiency. That includes recommendations for managers on how to be more profitable. 

Rutgers says the promotion rate is 13% above the national average, and you’ll need a bachelor’s degree.


NewSaetiew/Adobe woman working with a forklift in a warehouse

Median salary: $77,030 per year
Projected growth: 28%

Few people had ever considered the supply chain for businesses until the pandemic, but logisticians have been doing this job all along.

Logisticians are a critical part of the supply pipeline, and they hold jobs in just about every industry. They analyze and coordinate the purchasing, transporting, and storing of products. 

A bachelor’s degree is usually needed, but an associate’s degree is enough for some jobs.

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Accountants and auditors

Andrey Popov/Adobe accountant woman in office doing accounting

Median salary: $77,250 per year
Projected growth: 6%

Accountants and auditors examine, prepare, and otherwise monitor a person’s or organization’s financials. 

They fulfill many different roles as well. Some are self-employed, some are part of firms, some focus on taxes. Yet they’re needed across all industries. 

Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Certifications help with employment prospects. The promotion rate is 47% above the national average, per Rutgers.

Human resources

djrandco/Adobe smiling plainly and firmly handshaking with human resource manager

Median salary: $62,290 per year
Projected growth: 8%

As long as there is business, there will be a need for human resources. Almost every company needs HR to help manage their employees. 

Specialists do everything from recruiting to training to managing benefits and handling worker relations. A bachelor’s degree is needed. Per Rutgers, the promotion rate is 44% above the national average.

Bottom line

Rido/Adobe Business people working together

A bigger paycheck isn’t the only reason to find a new position or transition to a new career. 

If you’ve got the credentials, experience, and skills needed, there are great jobs out there with excellent advancement opportunities and growth potential.

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Author Details

Will Vitka Will Vitka is a D.C. area reporter and writer. He previously worked for WTOP, The New York Post, Stuff Magazine, and CBS News.

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