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The highest paying jobs in Australia | Main Region

The highest paying jobs in Australia

Highest paying jobs in Australia

It’ll come as no surprise that jobs in medicine are some of the highest paying in Australia. Australian Taxation Office data shows medical practitioners are the top earners, with surgeons averaging $394,303, anesthetists $386,065, and internal medicine specialists $304,752. 
 
However, as our annual Hays Salary Guide shows, there is a range of highly lucrative professions in Australia today – perhaps even some in your industry. Here, we share insights into some of the highest paying jobs, outside the medical profession, and the drivers behind the salaries these professions demand. 
 
If you are planning your future career goals and want a long and happy working life, it’s worth noting that while the earnings potential of each job shouldn’t be your primary motivation, it’s one factor you might like to bear in mind. 
 

The 22 highest paying jobs in Australia in 2021 - 2022

Along with the latest recruitment insights and trends, our Hays Salary Guide reveals typical salaries for thousands of jobs across Australia. Based on this data, we’ve collated the following list of some of Australia’s highest paying jobs. 

We’ve listed the typical salary in Sydney, unless otherwise indicated. For salaries in other locations, or other roles in your field, please see our complete Hays Salary Guide
 

Legal: Equity Partner (up to $700K+)

Equity Partners are top earners in the legal profession today. Equity partners in top tier private practices in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney report average salaries of at least $500K (Sydney tops the list at $700K-plus).
 
But research indicates that the road to making equity partner at a law firm takes up to 15 years. Although the financial return can be lucrative, legal professionals need to seriously consider their commitment to the pathway. To make it as Equity Partners, lawyers are known to log long hours in highly competitive environments.
 
If you’d prefer an in-house career, a General Counsel typically earns $220-350K+.
 

Executive: CEO and MD ($600K)

For CEOs and managing directors in commercial organisations with turnovers between $50m-$500m, the typical income is $600K.
 
For CFOs, COOs, FDs, and EGMs, incomes in commercial organisations with turnovers between $50m-$500m are typically around $500,000.
 
McKinsey & Company highlights that CEOs are top performers in a range of key areas including organisational strategy, organisational alignment, external stakeholder relations and board engagement.
 
Right now, CEOs seeking new opportunities should show how they have advanced service delivery in their organisation through the introduction of new technologies and strategies. Executives also need to show their ability to foster collaboration and strengthen team culture in remote work environments to attract new career opportunities and top salaries.
 

Retail: General Manager (up to $510K)

As it has with so many sectors, the pandemic has had a major impact on Australia’s retail sector, inducing a survival state in many physical retailers. It should come as no surprise that consumer-caution towards retail spending has resulted in steadying salaries. Salaries in retail are wide ranging, with upper-echelon average income ranging from $153K-$408K for head office Retail Directors and Merchandise Managers/Buying Directors, and $204K-$510K for General Managers. 

Other top paying jobs in retail include Group Planning Managers/Directors ($153-357K), National Operations Managers ($153-306K), Heads of Design/Creative Directors ($122-255K), Buying Managers ($138-204K) and Planning Managers ($133-204K).

Accountancy & Finance: Head of Treasury ($408K) 

Within the accountancy & finance sector, Heads of Treasury have some of the top paying jobs in Australia. The typical pay for a Head of Treasury in Sydney is $408K. For accounting professionals aspiring towards roles in treasury management, expect to need more than 10 years’ experience across finance, banking, accounting and/or inhouse corporate treasury experience. 
 
Other top paying roles can be found for Group Financial Controllers (typically $265K in organisations with turnover exceeding $300m), Heads of Internal Audit ($265K), Senior Commercial Managers/Directors ($255K in organisations with turnover exceeding $300m), Heads of Risk (also $255K) and Managers/Heads of Financial Planning/Analysis ($230K). 
 
In professional practice, Corporate Finance Principals/Directors ($220K), Insolvency Principals/Directors ($200K) and Tax Consulting Principals/Directors ($180K) are top earners.
 

Property: Development Director (up to $388K)

Top earners in Australia’s property sector today include Development Directors, who can earn an average salary of between $224-388K. Meanwhile Development Managers can receive an average salary of between $133-255K and $179-245K for Client-side Project Directors.

Energy: Project Delivery Director (up to $357K)

In the energy sector, the most lucrative salaries go to Project Delivery Directors in design engineering (renewables). The highest earners are in Sydney ($224K-$350K) and Melbourne ($306K-$357K). Some of the essential capabilities Project Delivery Directors draw on to succeed in their roles include a collaborative approach to stakeholder relations and a strategic approach to be prepared for the uncertainties that are inherent in big projects. 


High paying roles in the energy sector can also be seen in renewables for Construction Managers ($153-230K), Project Development Directors ($184-224K) and Grid Connections Managers ($173-220K).
 
In transmission and distribution/generation, the highest paying jobs are for Engineering Managers ($163-240K) and Transmission Line Design Engineers ($122-200K).

Construction: Construction Manager (up to $320K

The construction sector has many in-demand roles across different areas and geographies, and high earning potentials to correspond. Examples include in building construction for Construction Managers ($250-320K), Project Managers ($175-260K), Senior Estimators ($170-250K), Site Managers ($180-220K) and Design Managers (also $180-220K).

In civil construction, Construction Managers can receive a typical salary of between $184-255K and Senior Estimators between $184-224K. In residential construction, a Construction Manager can earn a typical salary of between $160-220K. 
 

Technology: CIO and CTO ($306K)

Tech salary trajectories traditionally run on two tracks. Many roles see a steady increase in salary. However, in high demand areas, salary increases trend up at even greater speeds. 

There is a large variety of roles in tech that command average salaries between $150-$200K. However, the major typical salary earners are in leadership positions in Sydney, and they include CISOs ($255K), CIOs ($306K) and CTOs (also $306K). Other high paying jobs in tech include Project Directors ($250K), Program Managers ($210K) and Enterprise Architects ($204K) in projects & change management, along with Heads of Digital ($224K)
 

Marketing & Digital: Executive Director of Communications ($290K)

Executive Directors of Communications have the biggest earning potential, expecting a typical salary of $290K in Sydney. Sydney-based Marketing Directors can expect to earn an average salary of $214K, while Directors of Communications ($180K), Bid Managers (also $180K), Sponsorship/Fundraising Directors ($175K) and PR Directors ($170K) also earn strong salaries.  
 

Human Resources: Head of HR/HR Director ($286K)

Given the seismic impact COVID-19 has had on the world of work, HR professionals are essential advisors for many organisations who need to navigate the changing world of business. Demand for skilled and experienced HR professionals has consequently intensified. Heads of HR/HR Directors in organisations with more than 1,000 employees have the biggest earning potential, typically $286K in Sydney, $255K in Melbourne and $250K in Perth. 
 
Average annual typical salaries are also high for Heads of L&D/L&D Directors ($224K) and Heads of/Director Remuneration & Benefits ($204K).
 

Banking: Head of Quantitative Risk ($275K)

The banking job market is bouncing back in a big way, with organisations expanding and attractive career opportunities available.
 
As for the roles that attract the biggest salaries, according to our latest findings, Heads of Quantitative Risk typically earn $275K. Meanwhile, heads of financial planning, credit, market and operational risk, compliance, anti-money laundering and regulatory risk, and Executive and State Managers in business & commercial lending and corporate & institutional lending are some of the best paying jobs in Australia, with salaries frequently sitting above $200K.
 

Life Sciences: Medical Director ($270K)

If you’re employed in Life Sciences, career opportunities abound. The industry, an essential player in the response to the pandemic, is increasing permanent staff levels. The biggest typical salary earners in Life Sciences nationally include Medical Directors ($270K), Health Economics/Market Access Directors ($260K), Heads of Regulatory Affairs ($199K), Heads of Drug Safety (also $199K), Clinical Director/Head of Clinical (also $199K) and Senior Medical Advisors ($194K). 

Mining: Registered Mine Manager (up to $265K)

For those who can build a successful mining career, there are significant earnings to make. Registered Mine Managers in metalliferous mining engineering and Process Managers in mineral processing are among the sector’s top earners, and can expect to earn typical salaries up to $265K and $255K respectively in Western Australia. Chief Geologists, Underground/Quarry Managers and Exploration Managers can also earn up to $255K. Meanwhile, industrial design Project Managers can earn up to $245K and Engineering Managers up to $240K.

There are many other mining roles in fixed plant maintenance, mobile plant maintenance, industrial construction, industrial design, and OHS and environmental that average salaries close to, or above, $200K. 

Engineering: Project Manager (up to $255K)

In Engineering, plenty of jobs average typical salaries of over $150K. Some of Australia’s top engineering professionals work in rail infrastructure, such as for Project Managers ($122-255K), Systems Assurance Specialists ($122-250K) and Signalling Specialists ($102-240K).

A building services Principal/Director’s typical pay is between $180-250K, while a civil & structural Group Manager/Principal typically earns $160-220K. 

Facilities Management: General Manager (up to $255K)

Within the FM sector, General Managers have the top paying salary of between $153-255K. Meanwhile, Bid Managers, Engineering Managers, Operations Managers and Contracts Managers can all earn up to $153K.
 

Procurement: Chief Procurement Officer ($220K+)

Demand is high for various procurement skills across Australia. If you’re a Chief Procurement Officer, you’re in the upper earning range in procurement right now, typically earning $220K+.

Sales: Director of Sales ($225K)

Australia’s top sales earners are Directors of Sales, who typically receive $225K. Add the commission and benefits often associated with sales packages, and the total yearly earnings can be much higher. Other top earners are National Sales Managers (typically $160K) and Business Managers ($150K).

Insurance: Head of Claims ($200K)

High typical salaries are seen in the insurance sector for Heads of Claims and Chief Underwriters working in life insurance ($200K). Heads of Claims in general insurance average $160. In various states in Australia, Underwriting Managers in general insurance and Account Directors in insurance broking can expect typical salaries of at least $170K. 

Contact Centres: Director of Customer Service ($190K)

Contact Centres’ highest typical salary earners include Directors of Customer Service/Contact Centres ($190K) and Contact Centre Managers ($135K). Other strong salaries are seen for Project Managers Operations Managers ($132K), ($112K), Collections Managers ($112K), and Sales/Telesales Managers ($102K). With Australia’s contact centre job market extremely candidate short, career opportunities are strong. 

Logistics: Supply Chain Director ($189K)

Australia’s top earners in the logistics sector today include Supply Chain Directors ($189K), Operations Managers in warehouse/distribution (typical pay $143K) and Supply Chain Managers ($138K). 

Manufacturing & Operations: Operations and Engineering Managers (up to $180K)

Both Operations Managers and Engineering Managers have the top paying jobs of between $140-180K. Meanwhile, Maintenance Managers can earn up to $150K, R&D Managers up to $148K, Technical Managers up to $143K, and both QA Managers and NPD Managers Food up to $133K. 

Architecture: BIM/CAD Manager (up to $163K)

Architecture’s highest paid earners are BIM/CAD Managers, who typically earn between $102-163K, followed by Senior Architects with 10 or more years of experience, who average $102-153K.

Find more of Australia’s highest paying jobs

As you can see, there are many jobs with a high average taxable income, beyond solely medical practitioners and internal medicine specialists. So, whether you're looking to be a project manager, engineering manager or system expert, or perhaps you want to join the ranks of legal professionals, mining engineers or financial dealers, there are plenty of ways to advance your career in a company and role that offers not only a competitive pay, but security and a long-term future. After all, plenty of Australians have pursued enjoyable and successful careers that have also been profitable, so why shouldn't you?

For more information on the highest paying jobs today, download our Hays Salary Guide. Our flagship report is full of findings pertinent to employers and candidates navigating the world of work and offers an insightful portrait of typical salaries across 27 sectors and industries.

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