The Top 10 Best (And Worst) Paying Jobs In Australia

The Top 10 Best (And Worst) Paying Jobs In Australia

A joint study by AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra has shed new light on Australia’s changing workforce; including the highest and lowest paid occupations. Check out the study’s table to see if it might be time for a career change.

Cleaner picture from Shutterstock

We can work it out – Australia’s Changing Workforce is an attempt to analyse Australian unemployment rates, shifting incomes and the way our workforce has changed over time. It also provides an insight into the best and worst paying jobs that our country has to offer.

According to data sourced in the study from the 2011 ABS Census, the highest and lowest paid jobs in Australia are as follows:

The occupations in the left-hand column provide an average annual income of more than $104,000, while the jobs in the right-hand column provide less than $41,600 per year.

The highest paid occupations are all professions with most coming from the medical sector. The lowest paid jobs mostly came from the hospitality and service industries. Pharmacy sales assistants are the lowest paid overall, with 82.2 per cent earning less than $800 per week.

Overall, the highest proportion of employees are professionals, which account for 22% of the entire work force. (As the study notes, this is in stark contrast to 1911, when only 7 per cent of workers were professionals.)

Interestingly, the highest-paid workers weren’t always professionals. Drilling, miners and shot firers all receive an average income of more than $2000 per week. Crane, hoist and lift operators also earn incomes that exceed the average national wage by a significant margin.

Meanwhile, some professional occupations are surprisingly low paid, include health therapy professionals and (sob) journalists. Although it could be worse: according to the study, seven per cent of Australians with a university degree are still working as sales assistants in their 20s.

Not surprisingly, workers with higher incomes tend to work longer hours: approximately 76 per cent of managers and administrators put in more than 40 hours per week. With that said, nearly half of Australia’s total workforce currently work more than 40 hours a week, so it’s not just the wealthy who are putting in the hard yards.

[Via Business Insider]


  • Sounds about right. I’m an F&B Attendant and in QLD we average just under $20 p/hr (+casual loading) and here in WA we average just over $20 p/hr (+casual loading).

  • Lies, damn lies and statistics.

    The title is misleading. The table shown doesn’t indicate the best/worst paid jobs … it shows the most/least consistently well/badly paid jobs.

    There are plenty of professions that pay better than being a medical specialist. Being PM for example is one of them. But medicos on average earn well. In part this is due to broad EAs which homogenise salaries and the Medicare benefits scheme.

    This also just means that plenty of other jobs/industries have very variable incomes for an equivalent role.

  • I drove buses for some time.. they’re only getting around $16-17/hr as FTE or $22 Casual.. so I’m not sure why they missed out.. That’s a scarily skilled job yet gets paid very very little.

    • As a Pilot my first fulltime job only paid $38,000 a year flying a Single Engine Aircraft with up to 7 passengers often around some nasty weather, very few people realise how little their Pilots are usually being paid for the first 5 years or so of their career whilst carrying massive debts. So ya, you’re Bus job doesn’t seem to be that bad in perspective.

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