The best-paying jobs and industries in Australia

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The news on Australian wage growth has been almost uniformly uninspiring over recent weeks.

The wage price index fell to another record low in the December quarter, particularly for private sector workers who saw their average hourly pay rate increase by a paltry 1.8%.

Average weekly earnings was also subdued, growing by just 1.6% in the 12 months to November last year. Private sector workers, again, fared even worse, seeing average earnings grow by a paltry 1.2% over the same period, less than the level of inflation.

And then yesterday we received the news that total wages and salaries in Australia fell during the December quarter, recording a decline of 0.5%, the largest since the GFC.

Everywhere you look, wage growth — particularly in real terms — is largely non-existent. And it’s not limited to specific industries, but across the board.

However, while wages and earnings are growing incredibly slowly, there are still high-paying roles to be found in Australia. They’re out there — you just have to work in the right industry.

So if you’re looking for a nice pay increase but getting frustrated with the wait, perhaps a career change is the answer to help boost your weekly pay packet.

According to data recently released by jobs website SEEK, the top five paying industries in Australia all have an average annual salary of over $100,000, near double the figure reported in Australia’s average weekly earnings report.

Here’s the top five paying industries on average, including wage growth over the past year, based on advertisements placed on SEEK.

    1. Mining, Resources & Energy — Average annual salary: $115,005. Salary growth year on year: -1%

    2. Consulting & Strategy — Average annual salary: $108,471. Salary growth year on year: 1%

    3. Construction — Average annual salary: $106,693. Salary growth year on year: 2%

    4. Engineering — Average annual salary: $103,247. Salary growth year on year: 1%

    5. Information & Communication Technology — Average annual salary: $102,548. Salary growth year on year: 2%

And, breaking that result by industry down further, here are the top five paying jobs on average over the past 12 months. As a marker, SEEK says the average advertised salary over the past 12 months was $81,235, up 1.8% on the levels of a year ago.

    1. Architects: Information & Communication Technology — Average annual salary: $137,707. Salary growth year on year: 2%

    2. Managers: Engineering — Average salary: $133,530. Salary growth: 3%

    3. Managers: Mining, Resources & Energy — Average salary: $133,169. Salary growth: 1%

    4. Managers: Information & Communication Technology — Average salary: $129,903. Salary growth: 1%

    5. General Practitioners: Healthcare & Medical — Average salary: $129,635. Salary growth: 0%

Managers and GPs feature heavily, although it’s clear people in the IT sector are faring pretty well right now.

Sarah Mccartney, a spokesperson at SEEK, says the result isn’t all that surprising.

“It’s no surprise that the ICT Architect job title enjoyed the overall highest advertised salary on SEEK,” she says.

“ICT Architects play a fundamental role in the creation and design of new technology to keep Australian’s digitally connected and competitive, and this need is ever increasing. Therefore demand for these professionals is high and so are the salaries advertised on SEEK to attract the best ICT Architect talent.”

While technology and infrastructure roles dominate the list, Mccartney says GPs are also likely to feature heavily in the years ahead due to Australia’s ageing population.

“We predict General Practitioners will in the remain a top paying job on SEEK because as Australians live longer and our population continues to increase, so does as their services are essential for enhancing the wellbeing and longevity of Australian lives through medical health care,” she says.

While it will be hard for many workers to re-skill into many of these sectors, for those who are in a position to do so, it’s a pretty solid bet that demand for healthcare and IT professionals will only increase in the years ahead given recent demographic and technology trends.