25 High-Paying Jobs That Are Perfect For Shy People

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Aine Cain

Guest Author

Shy people can thrive in certain occupations and work environments.

Business Insider scoured Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to find out what jobs are a great fit for shy people.


Many of the jobs we found are in the field of science.

Shy people are often at risk of getting shouted over and ignored in certain office settings, regardless of how talented and competent they are.

But that doesn't mean that reserved, quiet employees always have to be relegated to workplace wallflowers.

Some occupations actually seem tailor-made for the shyer individuals among us.


Business Insider reviewed the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a US Department of Labor database that compiles detailed information on hundreds of jobs, and looked at salary data on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' website to find positions with a median annual salary of over $75,000 that do not require much social interaction.

O*NET ranks how important "preferring work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job" is in any job, assigning each a "social orientation importance level" between 1 and 100.

Here are 25 high-paying positions with a social orientation importance level of 40 or lower:

Molecular and cellular biologists

University of Liverpool/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $75,150

Social orientation importance level: 32

Molecular and cellular biologists study the nature and use of areas of the Earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena.

Network and computer systems administrators

Strelka Institute/Flickr  CC By 2.0

Median salary: $77,810

Social orientation importance level: 39

Network and computer systems administrators install, configure, and support an organization's local area network, wide area network, and Internet systems or a segment of a network system.

Biochemists and biophysicists

MilitaryHealth/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $82,150

Social orientation importance level: 25

Biochemists and biophysicist study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena.

Fuel cell engineers

Science Photo/Shutterstock

Median salary: $83,590

Social orientation importance level: 36

Fuel cell engineers design, evaluate, modify, or construct fuel cell components or systems for transportation, stationary, or portable applications.

Web administrators


Median salary: $85,240

Social orientation importance level: 32

Web administrators manage web environment design, deployment, development and maintenance activities. They perform testing and quality assurance of websites and web applications.

Biomedical engineers

UC Davis College of Engineering/flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $86,220

Social orientation importance level: 33

Biomedical engineers apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs and prostheses.

Database architects

VFS Digital Design / Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $86,510

Social orientation importance level: 40

Database architects design strategies for enterprise database systems and set standards for operations, programming, and security.

Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers

Savannah River Site/flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $89,700

Social orientation importance level: 36

Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. They may use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems.

Material scientists

Peter Zalupski/Wikimedia Commons

Median salary: $91,000

Social orientation importance level: 38

Material scientists research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass.

Materials engineers

UC Davis College of Engineering  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $91,310

Social orientation importance level: 35

Materials engineers evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. They develop new uses for known materials.

Marine architects


Median salary: $93,350

Social orientation importance level: 40

Marine architects design and oversee construction and repair of marine craft and floating structures such as ships, barges, tugs, dredges, submarines, torpedoes, floats, and buoys. 

Marine engineers

PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock

Median salary: $93,350

Social orientation importance level: 40

Marine engineers design, develop, and take responsibility for the installation of ship machinery and related equipment including propulsion machines and power supply systems.

Mechatronics engineers

WorldSkills UK/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $95,900

Social orientation importance level: 35

Mechatronics research, design, develop, or test automation, intelligent systems, smart devices, or industrial systems control.

Nanosystems engineers

BM Photolab/Shutterstock

Median salary: $95,900

Social orientation importance level: 39

Nanosystems engineers design, develop, or supervise the production of materials, devices, or systems of unique molecular or macromolecular composition, applying principles of nanoscale physics and electrical, chemical, or biological engineering.


Ruslan Ivantsov/Shutterstock

Median salary: $97,070

Social orientation importance level: 34

Actuaries analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits.

Microsystems engineers

Intel Free Press/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $97,300

Social orientation importance level: 40

Microsystems engineers research, design, develop, or test microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices.

Photonics engineers

Vladimir Nenezic/Shutterstock

Median salary: $97,300

Social orientation importance level: 40

Photonics engineers design technologies specializing in light information or light energy, such as laser or fiber optics technology.

Applications software developers

Flickr / Fabrizio Salvetti  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $98,260

Social orientation importance level: 33

Software developers develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs.


Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $99,180

Social orientation importance level: 35

Economists conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy.

Environmental economists

greensefa/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $99,180

Social orientation importance level: 33

Environmental economists conduct economic analysis related to environmental protection and use of the natural environment, such as water, air, land, and renewable energy resources.


Grand Canyon NPS/flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $104,100

Social orientation importance level: 24

Astronomers observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.


ResoluteSupportMedia/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $111,110

Social orientation importance level: 32

Mathematicians conduct research in fundamental mathematics or in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields.


University of the Fraser Valley/flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $111,580

Social orientation importance level: 37

Physicists conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

Computer hardware engineers

Srdjan Radovanovic/Shutterstock

Median salary: $111,730

Social orientation importance level: 21

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

Water resource specialists

Tim Green/Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Median salary: $119,850

Social orientation importance level: 40

Water resource specialists design or implement programs and strategies related to water resource issues such as supply, quality, and regulatory compliance issues.

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