The 10 Best-Paying Jobs In Australia – And The Worst

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne via Getty Images

The study, We can work it out – Australia’s Changing Workforce, by AMP and NATSEM (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra) looks at how Australia’s workforce has changed over time.

In 1911, 30% of employees were primary producers and 29% were in industrial occupations. Only 7% were professionals and 63% of these were male and 37% were female.

Fast forward a hundred years and professionals account for 22% of the work force and the highest proportion of employees.

According to the study, these are the highest and lowest paid jobs:


The highest paid are represented by the share of persons earning more than $2,000 per week ($104,000 per year), while the lowest paid occupations by those earning less than $800 per week ($41,600 per year).

The highest paid occupations are all professions and dominated by medical professions.

Anaesthetists are on top with with 88.3% earning over $2,000 per week. They are closely followed by a range of other medical specialists.

The lowest paid occupations are services workers. The lowest paid occupation are pharmacy sales assistants with 82.2% earning less than $800 per week.

It’s not always the case that high paid occupations are always professionals or that low paid occupations are always service workers or non-professional staff.

Of non-professional staff the highest paid occupation is drilling, miners and shot firers where 43.8% command an income of more than $2,000 per week.

Electrical draftspersons and crane, hoist and lift operators also earn well above normal wages.

Professional occupations with relatively low wages include musical professionals with only 7.6% earning above $2,000 per week but 36.8% earning below $800 per week.

Other low paid occupations include health therapy professionals and journalists.

Higher incomes can mean working longer hours.

This next chart below shows the proportion of people working more than 40 hours per week in each occupation.


The relationship between hours worked and incomes generally holds true, so those occupations that had higher incomes (managers, machinery operators and drivers, technicians and trade workers) generally worked longer hours.

The exception to this was professionals, who had the highest incomes but had 55% of people working 40 hours or more, the lowest of the high group.