A Head for Business

The world of business operations specialists can be lucrative. With rare exceptions, you need a bachelor’s degree for these positions, which include everything from human resources to finances to management. Pay ranges from $40,980 for professional fundraisers to $79,175 for management analysts.

Highest pay

The highest pay in business operations is for management analysts. Average salary is $79,175.

A career as a management analyst is right for you if you’ve spent several years in your field, perhaps accounting or marketing, and you know how to make things more efficient, cutting costs and increasing profits. At minimum you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree in business administration makes you more competitive.

  • Management analysts: 15.0 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 4,301 to 4,944 positions. Average salary $79,175.

Wanted: A mind for data

Being able to analyze statistics is a key element in two of the fastest-growing business occupations for those with college degrees: operations research analysts and marketing research analysts.

Jobs for operations research analysts are expected to grow 28.2 percent from 2016-2026, from 953 to 1,222 jobs. This field requires a background in computer science and advanced math, such as calculus and statistics.

Jobs for market research analysts and marketing specialists are expected to grow 21.4 percent from 2016-2026. Businesses depend on marketing specialists to measure the effectiveness of strategies to bring the company’s products or services to the attention of buyers.

  • Operations research analysts: 28.2 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 953 to 1,222 positions. Average salary $74,216.
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists: 21.4 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 4,249 to 5,159 positions. Average salary $58,736.

Financial operations

Jobs are always available for the professionals who are trusted with adding up the numbers.

Cost estimators collect data in order to figure up the amount of time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. Businesses depend on their accurate estimates in order to make a profit. Nationwide, over a third of cost estimators, 37 percent, work for specialty trade contractors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Cost estimators: 5.3 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 2,083 to 2,194 positions. Average salary $61,623.

Accountant and auditors make up the largest occupation group in the financial specialists category in Kentucky. Over 12,700 total positions are expected by 2026. Accountants need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Earning the CPA (certified public accountant) credential can improve job prospects.

  • Accountants and auditors: 9.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 11,658 to 12,776 positions. Average salary $65,093.

Human resources

Human resources specialists are needed in almost every business, to recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They may also handle compensation and benefits.

  • Human resources specialists: 6.2 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 6,595 to 7,003 positions. Average salary $55,378.
  • Human resources managers: 7.9 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,526 to 1,647 positions. Average salary $94,930.


These business specialists can expect double-digit growth in Kentucky from 2016-2026.

  • Fundraisers: 15.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,018 to 1,177 positions. Average salary $44,439.
  • Training and development specialists: 12.3 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 3,254 to 3,654 positions. Average salary $56,287.
  • Meeting, convention, and event planners: 10.7 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 915 to 1,013 positions. Average salary $40,980.

Figures from the Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2026.


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