The 10 Best Paying Jobs in Basic Industries 2023

Best Paying Jobs in Basic Industries: How do you determine which jobs pay the most? It depends on what you mean by best-paying, of course, but one thing that can help narrow down your options is to look at jobs in basic industries.

Basic industries encompass retail sales, manufacturing, mining, and construction, among others; they are among the fastest-growing industries in the world, making them a smart choice if you’re looking to get into the job market or need to make some extra cash.

1. Assembly Operator

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for an assembly operator is $37,390. Assembly operators typically need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

Assembly Operator

These workers are responsible for building or assembling products by operating machines that cut, bend, stretch or assemble materials such as plastics, glass, and metals.

2. Overnight Grocery Stocker

The overnight grocery stocker’s salary is $28,348. While there aren’t any educational requirements to become an overnight grocery stocker, some should be met when seeking employment in a basic industries job.

Grocery Stocker

An online application is generally required, and you must also complete a written test consisting of math and reading questions. After completing these tests, applicants will be interviewed and hired for an hourly wage based on their skill level.

3. First-Line Supervisor of Retail Sales Workers

The retail industry is made up of jobs that are highly affected by daily fluctuations in customer foot traffic. With basic industries sector sales workers like retail sales workers, healthcare support occupations, and food preparation and serving workers having some of the highest turnover rates, these jobs have an extremely high demand for replacements.

Retail Sales Workers

First-Line Supervisor of Retail Sales Workers is a category that can be found under multiple basic industry sectors, including retail trade, leisure, hospitality, transportation, and accommodations.

4. Welder

According to the career website Indeed, the welder is ranked as one of the best-paying jobs in the basic industries sector. A welder’s salary varies based on geographical location, level of education, and other factors.


According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers who have a high school diploma or less make an average salary between $21,480-$40,500 per year. However, workers with an associate degree in welding technology make up to $66,450 annually.

5. Packaging Machine Operator

Working as a packaging machine operator is one of those good jobs that aren’t glamorous but offer consistent and solid pay. According to BLS, for example, packaging machine operators earned an average salary of $51,080 per year or $16.72 per hour as of May 2021.

Packaging Machine
The 10 Best Paying Jobs in Basic Industries [year] 12

Considering that most packaging machine operators work full-time (40 hours/week), you can see why it is a good career path to consider.

6. Elevator Installer and Repairer

There are about 2,300 elevator installers and repairers working in basic industries.


The job pays well (about $83,000 per year on average) and is a physically demanding career that often requires you to work high above ground level.

7. Boilermaker

No doubt, working on an oil rig is not for everyone. But if you thrive when working with natural resources, a job as a boilermaker can be just what you’re looking for.


Boilermakers construct, install and repair boilers, tanks, and other large steel pressure vessels that operate under steam power. Boilermakers also maintain hot and cold water systems using their skills with pipes and valves.

8. Refinery Operator

Refinery operators are responsible for refining crude oil into products like gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and heating oil. It’s one of the highest-paying jobs available in basic industries.


Refinery workers earn an average salary of $92,796 per year. Entry-level refinery operators can expect to earn an average annual salary of about $62,190 per year. All refinery operators make more than 90 percent of the U.S.

9. Fabric Mender

Overall, Fabric Menders and Tailors (except garments) earned a median salary of $36,300 in 2021.

Fabric Mender

The fabric mender makes, repairs, or alters clothing to fit customers’ needs. They may also be called upon to adjust garments to match changing fashion trends.

10. Chemical Plant and System Operator

Chemical Plant and System Operators control and monitor activities in chemical plants. They ensure proper procedures are followed, dangerous materials are handled safely, and wastewater is treated.

Chemical Plant

Chemical Plant and System Operators earned a median salary of $65,640 per year ($31.83 per hour) as of May 2021. The field was projected to grow 15 percent by 2026.

Overall, these industries tend to have excellent employment prospects. Most jobs don’t require a specialized degree but prior experience and hands-on skills. There are some exceptions; oil and gas workers need technical degrees and specialized training. And if you’re interested in more fun jobs with minimal education requirements, there are always amusement parks or casinos. Just remember that basic industries jobs pay well, so always keep safety as your priority!


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