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Study Reveals Industries With Smartest Employees Aren’t The Highest-Paid

Avva Experience CEO and co-founder, Barnaby Sellers

A new 2023 employee study has revealed the industries with the cleverest workers aren’t those that pay the most.

Corporate experience company Avva Experience used quiz score data from over 10,000 UK and US workers to dispute the correlation between intelligence and compensation.

The study found that construction, e-commerce and retail employees took the first, second and third spots for intelligence, based on their quiz scores. Whereas their salary rankings were much lower, ranking at positions 20, 8 and 28 respectively.

Investment banking, law, and energy and infrastructure were unveiled as the highest-paid industries, despite only placing 6th, 26th and 11th for intelligence, according to their quiz scores.

Avva Experience CEO and co-founder, Barnaby Sellers, said, “By using quiz data from thousands of employees from hundreds of UK and US companies, we were able to find an interesting and fresh perspective on the relationship between brain power and salary. What the data tells us is quite fascinating: the intelligence rankings of employees by industry doesn’t necessarily align with how much they get paid.

“This study challenges our assumptions about the link between knowledge and pay by highlighting that intelligence cannot be measured on a singular scale. It just goes to show that you really can’t judge a book by its cover!”

Avva Experience ranked participating industries according to their knowledge of business, popular culture, current affairs and world news. Data from ONS Labour Market Data and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to calculate the average salary data for 30 industries.

The full top ten smartest workers rankings are as follows:

  • Construction (20th best paid)
  • E-commerce (8th best paid)
  • Retail (28th best paid)
  • Telecomms (7th best paid)
  • Property (11th best paid)
  • Education (21st best paid)
  • Asset/Investment Management (6th best paid)
  • Media (16th best paid)
  • Transport & Logistics (21st best paid)
  • Recruitment (16th best paid)

The quiz scores are calculated by taking participating companies’ scores and calculating how close they are to getting full marks, which is then expressed as a percentage. Those percentages have then been averaged across companies and industries.

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