Unemployment might be on the rise and wage increases stagnating but there are certain jobs where the salary bracket is still rising.
Salaries in the nuclear industry rose 10% in 2012 amid competition from firms bidding to carry out the decommissioning programme at 12 sites across Britain, worth an estimated £7 billion.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo% The Telegraph reported that four consortia are currently fighting for the 12-site contract and the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency are expected to choose a winner in 2014.
The 14-year clean-up programme will be worth between £4-5 billion over the first seven years and almost £2 billion over the next seven.
Engineering recruitment agency Project Resource has claimed that a lack of qualified staff has caused businesses to offer a more generous salary package.
Project Resource said that basic salaries for qualified nuclear engineers rose 10% to £45,000 last year, with senior planner's salaries climbing to £50,000.
Generous bonus schemes and relocation packages worth £15,000 are also on the table for the right candidates, it said.
Simon Griffiths, regional manager at Project Resource, said: "Attracting staff to work in some of the most remote locations within the UK, such as Dounreay in the far north of Scotland, is challenging, particularly when these staff are in short supply."
Project Resource predicted salaries would jump again when the contracts were awarded, especially work gets underway in the construction of EDF's proposed nuclear new-build project at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
"Unlike in other business sectors, nuclear decommissioning contractors cannot respond to a limited supply of engineering staff by importing candidates from other countries," the agency said.
"This is partly because strict security requirements mean that foreign nationals, even from EU countries, are not eligible for the majority of jobs in the nuclear sector unless they have cleared stringent security checks and have been a UK resident for at least five years."
In contrast, average salaries in the UK only rose by 1.4% last year with search engine Adzuna estimating the average UK salary at £32,041, well under the average wage for a nuclear engineer.
The Office for National Statistics publishes a list of the best-paid jobs in the UK every year and, traditionally, the jobs that top the list are chief executives and senior officials who can command and average of £85,223 a year plus bonuses, benefits and share perks.
Other jobs that make the list are aircraft pilots and flight engineers whose average rose by 14% in 2012 to £78,736 and medical practitioners who have an average pay packet of around £71,279.
Flora Lowther, the head of research for Adzuna, has noticed a spike in other sectors of the job market as well and said: "We have seen an rise in average salary in the IT/tech sector as supply and demand imbalances push up the amount employers are willing to pay top dollar for developers and other technical staff."
"There are 50,715 Technology jobs currently available across the UK at an average salary of £38,185 per annum, 15% higher than the national average. Advertised salary in this sector is up 16% in the past 6 months and 7% over the year."
"Demand for workers to join the Energy, Oil and Gas sector has grown 50% every 6 months to over 6,517 roles this April. Average salary has increased in tandem with vacancy rise, up 4% in the past 3 months and 1% in the 6 months since October 2012 to £48,839 per annum."
Britain's most dangerous jobs
Salaries rise 10% for one particular kind of job
By far the most dangerous job across most of the world is fishing. Apparently 103 in every 100,000 fishermen will die at sea - most of them by drowning, and according to Oxford University, those who work at sea are an incredible 50 times more likely to die at work than anyone else.
How well they are rewarded for risking their lives depends on where they fit in the pecking order. At the very top, with your own boat and crew, in a good year, you could bring home more than £100,000. At the bottom of the heap as a trainee deckhand you would be lucky to get more than £10,000 a year.
In the army, these experts have the nickname Felix - because they need every one of the nine lives. We all make mistakes at work and in this role mistakes will kill or maim you.
In return for taking up such a dangerous role, you'll be paid £32,000 a year, which is made to look even more paltry by the fact that many of these experts end up drawing a disability pension before very long.
The risks of working with highly volatile and explosive materials in impossibly difficult natural environments is bad enough. Add in the risks of working in politically charged environments where you may well be a target for terrorists, and you can see why this is a dangerous job. In fact it has a fatality rate of around 32 per 100,000, and around 100 people a year die in the industry- around twice the average for all UK workers.
This risk, however, is reasonably rewarded - partly because of the fact it can be hard to attract workers to the places where oil and gas needs to be extracted. It's not uncommon for those with experience to be making £75,000 a year.
Put people up high, give them something heavy and awkward to carry, then get them to do it in the rain. It's not surprising this is a dangerous job. What is perhaps surprising is that over the past five years 30% of all work-related deaths in the UK have been in this industry. The riskiest construction jobs are those where heights are part of the every-day business of work - with scaffolders, steeplejacks ad roofers facing the most danger at work.
The pay starts around £20,000 for skilled workers, rising to around £50,000 for site managers.
Around 54,000 road accidents involving professional drivers take place on British roads every year - which is around 250 a day. Meanwhile, one in four of all road deaths involve a driver who is at work at the time. Despite stringent rules about how long they are allowed to drive for, and in-cab telematics to make sure they don't bend the rules, tiredness is the main cause.
In return for the danger, plus the long hours and the anti-social lifestyle, these workers can expect to earn around £25,000 a year.
The risks are perhaps unsurprising, given that drowning accounts for the majority of fatalities. However there are also problems from high gas consumption and mental health problems, often due to having to spend inordinate times decompressing in a confined space with another individual.
However, given the risks, the inhospitable locations and the skills required, the role can earn you £100,000 a year or more.
These are often ex-military personnel employed to protect wealthy or powerful individuals. The role is unsurprisingly highly dangerous, with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, enemy fire or booby traps.
There really is danger money associated with this job, which is another role than can earn the right individual 6 figures a year.
Around 15 police officers lose their lives at work every year. However, surprisingly, the biggest risk is from involvement in a road accident, which causes 70% of the deaths. Around half of these are officers getting to and from work. Meanwhile no more than one or two are killed by criminals in an average year. Fatalities, however, are only a small proportion of the massive number of injuries a policeman can pick up - with roughly one police officer injured every hour.
In return they can expect to earn around £40,000, rising to £55,000 for senior officers.
Again there aren't a huge number of deaths in the line of duty. However, every fire is potentially fatal, and every job carries the risk of injury. Injures are very common, although burns account for only 5% of them, the rest tend to be due to things like training and carrying equipment.
The pay has been subject to a number of arguments and even strikes but is currently around £30,000.
Perhaps it's surprising that this doesn't come higher up the list. Since 2001 over 350 have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The front line is clearly just about the most dangerous environment possible, and has to be up there with the place that most people would least like to work.
In return for putting their lives on the line in the service of their county, army personnel can expect to be paid £14,000 when they start out - rising to up to £100,000 for the most senior officers.