20 Jobs That Pay Well, Yet So Few Are Willing To Take On

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By Darryl Henderson

When people think of high-paying jobs, they often imagine roles in technology, finance, or medicine. However, many lesser-known careers offer competitive salaries but struggle to attract workers. Here are 20 high-paying jobs that pay well, but few people are willing to take on.

Air Traffic Controller

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Air traffic controllers manage aircraft movements to ensure safety. The International Labour Organization states that air traffic controllers can be exposed to critical accidents which can elicit strong emotional reactions. Despite the stress, this is among the highest-paid jobs.

Sanitation Worker

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Sanitation workers maintain public health by collecting and disposing of waste. This physically demanding job often requires early mornings and long hours, but it typically offers competitive salaries and job security.

Funeral Director

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Funeral directors manage the logistics of funerals, including embalming, cremation, and coordinating with grieving families. While many shy away due to the emotional nature of the work, funeral directors can earn substantial incomes.

Underwater Welder

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This job involves working in challenging and risky conditions, repairing and maintaining structures like bridges, ships, and oil rigs. You need technical skills and a high level of physical fitness, as well as the ability to work in confined spaces.

Hazardous Materials Removal Worker

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Hazardous materials removal workers handle dangerous substances like asbestos, lead, and radioactive materials. The risk involved in dealing with hazardous materials is offset by high pay and job stability in a field with consistent demand.

Corrections Officer

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Dealing with inmates in prisons and jails may turn some people off this job. Career Explorer says that the work environment can be challenging, demanding, and dangerous. However, corrections officers often receive competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities.

Elevator Mechanic

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This role involves installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators. Elevator mechanics enjoy high salaries due to the specialized nature of their work and the demand for their skills, yet not many people opt for this job.

Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

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Nuclear power reactor operators manage the complex systems that generate nuclear energy. The specialized knowledge and high stakes in this job lead to substantial compensation, but it requires rigorous training and certification.

Crime Scene Cleaner

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Crime scene cleaners clean and sanitize areas where crimes or accidents have occurred. This requires a strong stomach and resilience, as you can encounter unpleasant scenes. However, it is well paid – and ICE Cleaning says that you don’t need any formal education qualifications.

High-Rise Window Cleaner

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High-rise window cleaners work on skyscrapers, cleaning windows while suspended from great heights. Due to the risks and specialized skills involved, they can earn significant salaries, and there is an increasing demand for them.


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Embalmers prepare bodies for burial or cremation and often work in funeral homes. The role involves using chemicals and techniques to preserve bodies and make them presentable for viewings. Although the work can be emotionally challenging, embalmers earn solid incomes.

Oil Rig Worker

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Archer Offshore says that oil rig workers operate in harsh conditions and with high levels of risk. The job also requires long hours and extended stays away from home. Even though there are numerous challenges, oil rig workers are extremely well-compensated for their efforts.

Mortuary Makeup Artist

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Mortuary makeup artists prepare deceased individuals for funerals or viewings by applying makeup and styling hair. While many find the nature of the work unsettling, mortuary makeup artists can earn a good income and take pride in providing a comforting service to families.


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Longshoremen load and unload cargo from ships at ports, often working with heavy machinery and large shipments. The job requires physical strength, safety awareness, and the ability to work in all weather conditions. 

Crab Fisherman

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Working on fishing boats in harsh weather conditions may not appeal to a lot of people. It involves long hours and dangerous conditions at sea. However, crab fishermen can earn large incomes, especially during peak crab seasons.

Coal Miner

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Coal miners extract coal from underground mines, working in confined spaces with heavy machinery. The job can be dangerous due to the risk of cave-ins, gas leaks, and other hazards. However, coal miners often receive high pay, lucrative benefits, and strong union support.

Stunt Performer

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Executing high-risk stunts in movies, television, or live shows is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It requires physical fitness and extensive training to ensure safety during stunts. While stunt performers face inherent risks, they can earn significant pay in high-end productions.

Bomb Squad Technician

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This job involves high risks and intense pressure, but bomb squad technicians are well-compensated for their expertise. This career is not for everyone, but it offers significant rewards for those willing to take on the challenge.

Bridge Inspector

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Bridge inspectors examine and assess the safety of bridges and other infrastructures, requiring technical knowledge, attention to detail, and the ability to work at heights. Due to the nature of the work and the risks involved, bridge inspectors have excellent wages and job stability.

Explosives Specialist

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According to Career Pilot, this job involves identifying, defusing, and destroying explosive devices. These specialists work with explosive materials in industries such as mining and construction and need to have expert planning and technical skills to prevent accidents.