Whether a paycheque is a major factor in your career choice or you’re just curious about our country’s most lucrative jobs – we’ve rounded up the highest paying careers in Australia.
So, what is the highest paying job in Australia?
According to the most up to date Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data, surgeons are the highest paid professionals in Australia with an average annual salary of $402,582. The remainder of the top 10 highest paid professions in Australia include a number of other medical professions, engineering, finance and legal roles. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) regularly releases income statistics however, it’s important to note that the latest data is from 2017-18 financial year. Given the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy in 2020, these statistics might not reflect the current job market and salary information.
Here are the top highest paying jobs in Australia, including the highest paying trades.
Average salary: $92,676
Sparkies are responsible for planning, installing and maintaining electrical wiring systems, basically they keep the lights on! Electricians require a certificate III in electrotechnology, often completed as part of an apprenticeship.
Crane hoist or lift operator
Average salary: $100,847
Crain and lift operators move materials, equipment and people, often on building sites, factories and mines. The role doesn’t always require qualifications however, a certificate III or IV in construction crane operations or mobile crane operations may help.
Average salary: $113,835
Construction managers oversee the day-to-day running of building site operations. They have comprehensive experience in the construction industry and have gained a qualification such as an Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management).
Driller, miner and shot firer
Average salary: $118,352
Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers work on drilling rigs and mining sites, responsible for detonating explosives to extract materials from the earth and demolish structures. Workers can gain on the job experience or formal qualifications such as AQF Certificate II or III.
Chemical, gas, petroleum or power generation plant operator
Average salary: $125,581
These are the workers responsible for operating chemical production equipment, pump gas and oil from wellheads, refine and process petroleum products, and operate boilers, turbogenerators and associated plant to generate electrical power. This role generally requires AQF Certificate III and at least two years of on-the-job training.
Average salary: $156,015.
Engineering managers are responsible for directing an organisation’s technical operations and to successfully deliver civil engineering and construction projects. Engineering managers are required to complete a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) accredited by Engineers Australia. Postgraduate study options can also include Master of Engineering Management or Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management.
CEOs and managing directors
Average salary: $157,643.
CEOs and Managing Directors are the most senior executives in charge of managing an organisation and its performance. There’s no hard and fast pathway to the role however, most will have completed tertiary education and have plenty of work experience under their belt before they earn one of the best paying jobs in Australia.
Average salary: $179,288
Another high paying engineering role is that of a mining engineer. They’re responsible for planning and overseeing the safe and efficient extraction of mineral resources from the earth. Mining Engineers require a Bachelor of Engineering degree, majoring in mining or geotechnical engineering.
Average salary: $184,598.
Covering magistrates, judges, and tribunal members for example, judicial/legal professionals hear legal and other matters in courts and tribunals, draft legislation and interpret, analyse, administer and provide advice on the law. These roles require a completed law degree and have been licensed to practise law for a minimum of eight years.
Other medical practitioners
Average salary: $215,728.
This term includes a range of professions in the medical field such as dermatologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, obstetricians and gynaecologists. Given the range of specialities, there are a number of different study pathways available.
Average salary: $225,206.
Psychiatrists are specialised medical doctors to diagnose and treat mental health concerns, helping people with conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addiction. Psychiatrists are qualified medical practitioners who have completed further training with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. This process can last 11 years in total.
Average salary: $272,895.
Financial dealers include stockbrokers and futures traders, who work with clients to advise on financial matters and conduct market transactions. They usually require a degree in commerce, finance, accounting, or economics and registration with the Australian Securities Exchange is essential.
Internal medicine specialist
Average salary: $268,247.
Internal medicine specialists are one of the highest earning jobs in Australia, responsible for the diagnosis and management of complex, chronic and multisystem disorders, often in a hospital or clinic setting. Physicians specialising in internal medicine are called internists, or consultant physicians.
Average salary: $382,674
Anaesthesiology is the second highest paying career in Australia.Anaesthetists are specialist medical doctors who are responsible for providing anaesthesia to patients for operations and procedures. The study pathway is a long one, requiring a medical degree and at least two years gaining experience in the hospital system before completing a further five years of training in anaesthesia.
Average salary: $402,582
Topping the list of highest paid professions in Australia are surgeons! Surgeons are doctors who have completed further training in a surgical specialty, working to treat, repair and resolve injuries, diseases and abnormalities by operating on patients. In order to earn the highest salary in Australia, surgeons are required to complete an accredited medical degree and work in a clinical setting for two to three years. During the third postgraduate year, prospective surgeons apply to enter the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Surgical Education and Training (SET) program to train in one of nine surgical specialities. These include cardiovascular surgeon, brain surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon and plastic surgeon. This process can take five to six years before surgeons can become accredited as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS).
We hope you found this guide to well-paying jobs in Australia helpful in choosing your career path.