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The Top 100 Billionaires of 2024 - How Did They Get So Rich?

To become one of the 100 richest people in the world in 2024, you have to be worth at least £11 billion. 

To put this into proportion, this is over 41,000 times wealthier than the average UK household wealth (£262k) from the Office For National Statistics1.

Here at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, we’re interested as to how the wealthiest top 100 of 2024 got so rich – and the correlations between your first career steps and how rich you become.

Where were the top 100 born?

Interestingly, the number of Chinese billionaires’ is on the rise, rising from 7 to 10 in the last three years.

Males also dominate the wealthiest individuals of the world with only 8 out of the top 100 billionaires being female.

Starting education – do you need a degree?

80% of the top 100 billionaires have at least an undergraduate degree – a clear indicator between higher education and wealth.

But which degree types did the top 100 2024 billionaires’ study?

First career path – who did the top 100 start working for?

How many of the top 100 made their own wealth or inherited a family fortune?
From our research 54% starting working in another business before making their billions, with 32% inheriting their money from a family source.

14% started their billion-pound businesses before any other career step.

First jobs – which job type do billionaires’ start working in?

Is there a trend between the skills you learn in your first job and the wealth you attain? Our research on the top 100 billionaires of 2024 suggests that individuals starting in an engineer or stock trading role.


2019 trends

Are billionaires getting younger? In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg was the only individual in the wealthiest 100 in the world under the age of 40.

In 2024, there are now five top 100 billionaires below 40, with a trend of software entrepreneurs like Zhang Yiming (TikTok), Ma Huateng (WeChat) and Colin Zheng Huang (Pinduodou) joining the list. If you want to become one of the economic elite, starting up a viral digital media platform like Facebook or TikTok isn’t a bad way to start – if only it was that easy…

Similarly, the wealth of China is becoming more prominent in the billionaire list. Over the last 2 years China has moved from having the 4th most individuals in the wealthiest 100, up to 2nd, only behind the United States.

With the growth of a huge potential customer base in Asia, both in terms of audience size and purchasing power, the number of Asian individuals in the wealthiest 100 in the world is set to rise. If you have a business idea just waiting to take-off, tapping into the Asian customer base wouldn’t be a bad strategy.

General trends

Billionaires tend to have studied an engineering or a finance role at university. Billionaires are likely to be good with numbers… developing ‘money’ skills through a finance role in your education has a correlation with the wealth you attain in your following career.

Technical starting careers can lead to great wealth. The rise of software entrepreneurship is replacing traditional wealth from resources like minerals and oil – engineers and software developers are producing a wave of ‘new money’ billionaires that have the skills to develop leading software products.

One of the most indicative stories of the rise to billionaire status in 2024 comes from Chinese born, Ma Hauteng, starting his career as a software developer for pager technology and only earning $176 per month2. Jump forward to present day and Ma Hauteng is worth over $35 billion, after setting up internet conglomerate Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company and massive social media platform.


We welcome use of our data in other studies or articles. Please reference Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment and as the author of the study.


Data on the individual billionaires was collected through mixed sources; reviewing online biographies, profiles and news reports.

Data comparing the last 3 years uses this report combined with the Aaron Wallis billionaires’ report published in September 2024.

1) ONS – Personal & Household Finance UK

2) Australian Business Review – Tencent’s Ma Becomes China’s Second Richest Man

Rob Scott, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, Author Photo

About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
With over 26 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013, Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as the FT, Business Insider, Forbes and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which hosts The Online Recruitment Awards every year.