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The top paying job in the UK that doesn’t require a degree is Scrum Master, according to new research from smarter job search engine Adzuna, with workers in this tech ‘Scrum’ project management role commanding average salaries topping £66k.

Adzuna analysed over 1.2 million jobs available in November 2021, revealing the 25 highest paid positions on offer that don’t require jobseekers to have a degree. Each of these roles beats average UK pay rates, despite requiring fewer hurdles to entry.

The list includes six roles with average advertised salaries greater than £60,000. By comparison, the average advertised UK salary is just £35,998. With tuition fees alone totalling £9,250 a year at most UK universities, the jobs highlighted below are attractive options for jobseekers keen to start their careers without shelling out tens of thousands for a university education.

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The role of Scrum Master tops the list, with advertised jobs paying £66,663 on average and 677 openings available in November. This tech job involves motivating and mentoring a Scrum team (i.e. a tech team using a ‘Scrum’ project management framework), meaning communication, organisation and interpersonal skills are fundamental. The majority of Scrum Master jobs advertised on Adzuna require these skills, as well as Scrum know-how, over formal education and qualifications showing further education is not always required to qualify for a lucrative career.

Construction manager came a close second with advertised salaries averaging £65,188. The role has increased in demand as the trade & construction sector has boomed over the last year, with 83,711 jobs advertised in November, up 65% year-on-year. 457 of these positions were for construction managers.

Ethical hacker features third at £63,172, with 176 jobs available. Also known as ‘White Hat Hackers’, this role involves an employee probing for security vulnerabilities that a criminal may wish to exploit, allowing their employer to improve its cyber security framework.

The airline industry is providing several high earning opportunities for jobseekers without a degree. Commercial pilot jobs pay an average of £60,796, while their advisors on the ground, air traffic controllers, receive £50,618 on average. No degree is required to train for either role, though a minimum of 5 GCSEs including English, Science, and Maths may be required. Both careers favour natural aptitude over academic background.
Two further roles are particularly lucrative and pay over £60k. Food safety inspector roles command average salaries of £60,105 and require specialist food safety certifications, but don’t necessarily require a degree. Meanwhile the growing demand for private vehicles and taxi hire means private chauffeurs can earn more than ever, with advertised salaries averaging £60,000.

As the job market evolves, new positions are emerging providing more lucrative opportunities for non-graduates. One example is Influencer marketing manager, a role involving managing relationships with influential people critical to a brand’s social media presence. Social savvy and great communication skills are a must but a degree isn’t required, with roles paying £40,677 on average and 502 jobs available.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “2022 is a year of financial opportunity for degreeless jobseekers. Tight labour market conditions mean employers are casting their hiring nets wider than ever before to catch candidates with the right skills – and they’re offering tantalising pay packets as bait. For many roles, self-taught skills are more important than a formal education, particularly in soaring sectors like IT and Trade & Construction. Scrum Masters, for example, are earning upwards of £66k, and while knowledge of the scrum system and top notch project management skills are needed for success, a degree isn’t. Other top paying jobs that don’t require university study range from air traffic controllers, to games developers, to construction managers, and jobseekers going after these positions should work hard to show off their soft skills and suitability. As more high paying careers open up to school-leavers, the hefty price tag that comes with further education is weighing heavier and we expect more jobseekers to choose the non-academic route. Degreeless workers are a vital segment of the labour market that more employers are looking to utilise.”

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