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Highest Paying Jobs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Updated on November 12, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

As the country’s fifth largest city, Philadelphia contained over 1.53 million people as of the latest census figures. As with many northeastern areas, this metropolis shows a decline in manufacturing, and an increase in information and service businesses including education, tourism, finance, telecommunications and printing. The highest salaries in the workforce vary by job title.


The average salaries of Philadelphia’s 1.81 million workers ran $50,350 per year, or $24.21 per hour, as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • This was higher than the average for all 128.27 million workers in the country, who made $45,230 yearly, or $21.74 hourly.
  • The biggest employment category belonged to office and administrative support occupations, with 195,860 workers, averaging an annual $37,610, or $18.08 per hour.
  • Retail salespersons held the most jobs, with 59,820 making a mean $27,250 per year, or $13.10 per hour.


The highest paying jobs belonged to specialist dentists who were not oral surgeons. Though the BLS did not compile employment numbers for them, these medical professionals averaged $233,360 yearly, or $112.19 hourly.

  • Next for pay were obstetricians and gynecologists, who specialized in women’s health issues. These 120 doctors made a mean annual $229,230, or $110.21 per hour.
  • Physicians and surgeons, not broken up into individual specialties, ranked fourth on the pay list, with 4,690 averaging $180,120 per year, or $86.50 hourly.
  • In sports six through nine were general dentists with an annual $164,250, general practitioners at a mean $157,140 yearly, pediatricians averaging $154,160 per year and general pediatricians at a mean $154,160 annually, or $154,160.


Ranking third for salary were chief executives, with 4,480 making a mean $202,330 per year, or $97.28 per hour. They earn their keep by accepting ultimate responsibility for the success of their organizations. However, they achieve their objectives with the assistance of department heads and clerical staff. They typically need a minimum bachelor’s degree and several years of increasingly responsible experience. Many also have MBAs. They form part of the management occupations group, whose 77,960 workers earned the highest pay of any group at a mean $123,540 yearly, or $59.39 hourly.

Natural Sciences Managers

The 970 natural sciences managers were fifth for wages, averaging an annual $173,230, or $83.29 per hour. They typically begin their careers as technical professionals, such as biologists, with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a natural science. They are then assigned leadership of projects or teams until they finally become managers, whose primary tasks shift from scientific to administrative. They hire, train and motivate scientists, prepare budgets, decide on the goals for their department, and schedule the strategies for meeting their objectives. Depending on their level, they may be accountable only to the CEO.

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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      The natural science managers are a surprise for me. Of course, it's nothing new that the medical field earns top salaries, although I wouldn't have expected the specialist dentists to be in the top of that category. Interesting! Voting useful and interesting.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      Every type of technology and jobs are expanding day by day in global world and It is important to be updated. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Aurelio,

      I would enjoy visiting Philadelphia someday to see all of the historical places. The salaries you cited are interesting. I was surprised at the specialist dentist salaries even outpacing some of the doctor salaries. Guess it pays to say..."open wide!" Ha! Up, useful and interesting votes. This may encourage more kids to think about dentistry as an occupation.

    • profile image

      mts1098 5 years ago

      Based on these statistics, I guess I will turn to the medical profession...good job!