From developing revolutionary technology to solving the most complex problems, engineers are essential to the advancement of our world. Their work makes a real and tangible impact on society. That’s why they are some of the most sought-after professionals on the planet. Here are the top-earning engineers for 2023.
Top 20 Wealthiest Engineers:
1. Elon Musk – $241.1 Billion
Elon Musk is a man who needs no introduction and is currently the richest man alive. Musk handles a lot of projects, but his engineering skills are highlighted through his success with SpaceX and Tesla.
The South African’s first venture was with web software Zip2, which he sold for $307 million to Compaq. He was part of the “PayPal Mafia”, the group responsible for the payment company’s success.
When PayPal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, Elon used his fortune to start SpaceX and Tesla. Elon is now working on taking humanity to Mars and building X.com. Musk’s net worth stands at 241.1 billion according to Forbes.
2. Bernard Arnault – $191.2 Billion
Although he’s known in the fashion industry as the owner of Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault is also an engineer. Arnault earned the majority of his wealth as a business magnate and in recent times he’s dropped behind Elon Musk on the rich list.
His father was the owner of the French civil engineering firm Ferret-Savinel, and he worked there after graduating from college. Arnault then became a real estate developer and acquired LVMH.
Under his leadership, Louis Vuitton became an iconic fashion brand. He also oversees 70 other brands, and it’s a big part of his $191.2 billion net worth.
3. Jeff Bezos – $169 Billion
The renowned founder and former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is a computer and electrical engineer. The e-commerce pioneer began his career at Fitel, a financial telecom startup where he developed a network for global trading.
Jeff then transitioned into banking and worked various roles for Wall Street firms from 1986 to early 1994. However, his first real breakthrough came after founding Amazon and served as the richest man in the world from 2017 to 2021. He may have lost the title, but his wealth is still sitting at $169 billion.
4. Larry Ellison – $146.3 Billion
Database expert Larry Ellison built his wealth with Oracle Corporation. Ellison is the software company’s co-founder, chief technology officer, executive chairman, and former CEO.
He was inspired to start Oracle while working at the electronics company Ampex. Larry had a concept that grew into a profitable database provider for mid-and low-end systems. Ellison also developed databases for the CIA.
In 2014, he stepped down as CEO but maintained his other positions. Another factor of his wealth is his 97% ownership of Hawaii’s Lanai island. Larry Ellison’s net worth $146.3 billion.
5. Mark Zuckerberg – $120.9 Billion
Anyone who has spent time on social media has likely heard of the name Mark Zuckerberg. He is the brains behind the social networking site Facebook and its parent corporation Meta Platforms.
Zuckerberg created Facebook with a few classmates at Harvard. The website was originally intended for colleges, but quickly rose to fame and attracted users outside of campuses.
With Meta Platforms, Zuckerberg was able to acquire more companies, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus VR. This has earned him an estimated net worth of $120.9 billion.
6. Bill Gates – $117.1 Billion
Another man once recognized as the wealthiest man, Bill Gates made his name and fortune, co-founding Microsoft. Bill dropped out of Harvard to launch Microsoft with his computer programmer friend, Paul Allen.
He headed some of the most significant projects that helped Microsoft become a global tech giant. Gates left Microsoft in 2020 but stills manages an investment portfolio and focuses more time on philanthropic efforts. Gates’s wealth sits at $117.1 billion.
7. Larry Page – $116.4 Billion
Larry Page is the co-founder and former CEO of Google, the world’s most used search engine. He was the brains behind the firm’s early search ranking algorithm, PageRank.
Page and fellow computer scientist Sergey Brin co-founded Google while still in university. Page was chosen to become the CEO and helped the company gain a dominant foothold in online paid advertising.
When he stepped down from his position, Larry focused his efforts on the holding company Alphabet, Inc. This has helped the internet entrepreneur reach a fortune worth $116.4 billion.
8. Sergey Brin – $111.7 Billion
Larry Page’s partner in building the search engine Google from the ground up is none other than Sergey Brin. He also previously served as the President of Alphabet.Inc.
Sergey and Larry met and founded their startup while studying at Stanford. He is largely credited with inventing data mining techniques, which were later applied to the creation of Google.
Despite stepping down as the President of Alphabet, he still works closely with the firm as a board member and controlling shareholder. This gave Brin a $111.7 billion net worth.
9. Mike Bloomberg – $96.3 Billion
Mike Bloomberg is a businessman, author, CEO, and majority owner of the media company Bloomberg L.P. However, he is also an electrical engineer by profession.
Mike started his career with the brokerage firm Salomon Brothers. His earnings from the company helped him co-found Bloomberg L.P. Mike served as its CEO and chairman.
Apart from business ventures, Bloomberg also spent time in politics. From 2002 until 2013, he served as the Mayor of New York City. After his term, Mike ran for office but his campaign failed to gain any momentum. Bloomberg’s fortune stands at $96.3 billion.
10. Carlos Slim – $94.3 Billion
Through his conglomerate company, Grupo Carso, civil engineer and business magnate Carlos Slim made his billions from holdings in a number of enterprises in Mexico.
Carlos started out as a stock trader. Later in his career, he launched his own brokerage, Inversora Bursátil. This helped him save up money to eventually form Grupo Carso.
The company influences a lot of industries in the Mexican economy. This includes healthcare, real estate, transportation, education, energy, technology, sports, and more. Slim’s ventures have earned him a $94.3 billion cash pile.
11. Mukesh Ambani – $92.7 Billion
Mukesh Ambani is the richest person in India, the chemical engineer holds a majority equity stake in the conglomerate, Reliance Industries Ltd.
Ambani was a Stanford MBA student when he decided to drop out and help his father, who was starting Reliance Industries. He was hired to help craft a polyester filament yarn.
Now, their family business is the biggest Indian company by market value. Mukesh was also considered the wealthiest man in his country for some time. With his $92.7 billion fortune, he overtook Gautam Adani to top the rich list in India.
12. Charles Koch – $52.4 Billion
Charles Koch is a chemical and nuclear engineer. Koch is the CEO and chairman of Koch Industries, a chemical and oil refining firm originally owned by his father.
The company was first named Rock Island Oil & Refining Company. Charles and his late brother David inherited the company and rebranded it. Koch Industries created a range of well-known products, it included pollution control equipment and solutions to their operations. Charles gained a $52.4 billion fortune from his ventures.
13. Len Blavatnik – $30.5 Billion
Computer scientist Len Blavatnik, is the majority owner of Warner Music Group. His organization, Access Industries Holdings, also owns shares in many publicly traded properties.
Blavatnik is a Ukraine native, and after the Soviet Union fell apart, the businessman built his wealth in the chaotic privatization of state-owned aluminum and oil businesses.
Len got a big pay day in 2013 after selling his shares in the Russian oil company TNK-BP for $7 billion. This, along with his current endeavors, has given him a $30.5 billion net worth.
14. Vladimir Lisin – $24.8 Billion
Vladimir Lisin is another mogul who started his career in the Soviet Union. He is the chairman and majority stakeholder of Novolipetsk, one of Russia’s top steel companies. Vladimir first worked as a mechanic in the Soviet coal mines.
Next he worked at Tulachermet Metals Works as a welder foreman. There, Lisin steadily climbed the corporate ladder. He eventually joined the Trans-World Group, which led him to Novolipetsk. Vladimir also got involved in other industries, including energy, transportation, and logistics. Lisin’s net worth is approximately $24.8 billion.
15. Leonid Mikhelson – $24.1 Billion
Leonid Mikhelson established and runs Novatek, a natural gas company that is one of the largest in the world. He is a civil engineer and close confidante of Vladimir Putin.
Mikhelson’s father was the head of the former Soviet Union’s leading pipeline construction company. He began his career as a foreman for the construction firm. Leonid eventually joined NOVA and rose to the top of the firm.
He also became the general director of the firm’s holding business Novafininvest, which later became known as Novatek. This directed him to numerous notable partnerships and a fortune of around $24.1 billion.
16. Vagit Alekperov – $23.7 Billion
Vagit Alekperov is an expert engineer in the oil and gas industry. He spent much of his career as the President of the multinational energy corporation Lukoil.
As a former oil rig worker, Alekperov rose through the ranks of the Soviet Union’s oil industry to become deputy minister. He formed Lukoil by combining three ministry-controlled oil resources after the demise of the Soviet Union.
Now, his company is recognized as the top independent oil company in Russia. He left his role in Lukoil, but still has other substantial business ventures. It’s enough to maintain his fortune at $23.7 billion.
17. James Ratcliffe – $20.5 Billion
The chemical producer Ineos is headed by chemical engineer and entrepreneur James Ratcliffe. He acts as the company’s founder, CEO, main shareholder, and chairman.
Ratcliffe first worked with the oil company Esso and then moved into finance by joining Advent International. Then, Ratcliffe took out a mortgage on his home to acquire a former BP Chemicals facility.
This led to the formation of Ineos, which became Ratcliffe’s primary source of income through the years and it made him the richest man in the UK in 2018. Recently, he acquired a minority stake in Manchester United. Ratcliffe net worth is estimated to be $20.5 billion.
18. Azim Premji – $11.5 Billion
Azim Premji is an electrical engineer overseeing some of India’s most reputable foundations. Before this, he made his money as chairman and board member of the IT company Wipro Limited.
His father was dubbed “Rice King of Burma”, and he operated Western India Vegetable Products Ltd. When he passed away, Azim took over the company and converted it into Wipro.
Premji initially handled hydrogenated oil manufacturing but later transitioned to information technology. He has retired as chairman, but is still a board member, and his fortune is worth $11.5 billion.
19. Viktor Vekselberg – $6.4 Billion
Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg is noted as the owner of Renova Group. Through his work modernizing Russia’s economy, he was educated as a mechanical engineer.
He established a startup called NPO Komvek, which provided services to the Irkutsk Aluminum Plant. Vekselberg made his first dollars selling scrap copper from old cables.
Eventually, he co-founded Renova Group and initially transacted metals and oil. Viktor also became a TNK-BP stakeholder. Vekselberg has amassed a net worth of around $6.4 billion.
20. Baba Kalyani – $3.8 Billion
Baba Kalyani is a mechanical engineer known for his work with his late father’s firm, Kalyani Group. The corporate executive first held a major position in the global manufacturing corporation, Bharat Forge. There, he served as a managing director until he had to transfer to Kalyani Group to replace his father.
Kalyani made waves in trade and industry, which was why he got hired by ThyssenKrupp, one of the biggest forgings manufacturers in the world. With the jobs he’s taken, Baba Kalyani has achieved a net worth of $3.8 billion.