For many people, upping sticks and moving to Australia represents a desire for a more laidback lifestyle; after all, the weather is good, the beer is cold and, aside from the presence of a few alarmingly dangerous critters, it’s relatively safe, too.
It’s not all about beaches and barbeques, though. Australia also offers a large number of well-paid roles across a variety of industries, making it a wise choice for your career as well. To prove it – and to give you an idea of whether you’d be financially better off – we’ve taken the most recent data from Indeed and PayScale and crunched through the numbers. The result, in all its glory, is the top 10 highest-paying jobs in Australia.
10. Data scientist
Average salary: A$99,510 (£55,350 / $70,320)
As STEM careers in Australia really begin to take off, it’s little surprise that in 2019 data science – commonly referred to as the ‘sexiest profession of the 21st Century’ – is pushing six figures. Responsible for mining through vast amounts of data and turning it into valuable and actionable information, organisations in every sector are on the lookout for qualified and competent number crunchers.
In order to become a data scientist, you will need a strong knowledge of programming languages – particularly Python – as well as an educational background in a STEM field such as mathematics or computer science. Alternatively, you can undertake postgraduate study in a data-specific subject, before specialising within a particular industry.
Average salary: A$103,400 (£57,510 / $73,060)
Due to Australia’s ‘points’ immigration system, it’s not uncommon for healthcare professionals to swap the overcrowded and overcompetitive medical systems of the UK and the US for a more rounded working environment. The country’s healthcare structure is constantly rated as one of the best in the world, while the country’s universities also offer some of the best medical education in the English-speaking world.
Of course, while becoming a doctor is a long and challenging process, it is also famously well paid. While junior doctors and registrars can expect to hover around the $120,000 mark (about £66,740 or $84,800), specialists and consultants – especially within surgery, anaesthetics and psychiatry – can earn in excess of $200,000 (£111,240 / $141,330), while senior consultants can even expect to push past $300,000 (£166,840 / $212,010).
8. Wellbeing manager
Average salary: A$110,520 (£61,470 / $78,090)
One of the few non-STEM careers on this list, the position of ‘wellbeing manager’ is a relatively recent creation. With large firms and corporations becoming more attuned to the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees – as well as the benefits that a happy and fully-functioning worker brings – it’s no surprise that the people responsible for managing such schemes are being so well compensated.
Typically, wellbeing managers are pooled from a company’s human resources department. Although there is no real set ‘path’ or qualification set out, an up-to-date knowledge of – and enthusiasm for –corporate wellbeing trends are an obvious starting point, as are strong people skills and a sense of creativity.
7. Construction manager
Average salary: A$111,390 (£61,950 / $78,730)
As much an indication of Australia’s healthy construction climate as anything else, it’s been a good year for managers within the building industry. Tasked with supervising contractors on site, as well as working closely with other construction professionals and stakeholders (such as architects, surveyors and suppliers), construction managers have to balance an array of constantly moving parts in an industry that is notorious for its volatility.
To become a construction manager, you will need to study a relevant degree, although many start off on-site and work their way up, combining their education with on-the-job experience. Either way, you’ll need to be organised, decisive and able to manage teams to strict deadlines.
6. Cloud engineer
Average salary: A$111,590 (£62,050 / $78,870)
Another relatively recent creation, cloud engineering is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand IT jobs in the industry, with the technologies enabled by cloud computing – such as commercial applications, data storage and the Internet of Things – evolving rapidly. As a result, skilled engineers who can build, maintain and develop such systems can expect to earn a lot for their troubles.
Cloud engineers need to have a strong educational background in an IT or computing field, as well as experience and specialist qualifications depending on their exact role. The VMware Certified Professional in Data Centre Visualisation and the AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) certificates are great places to start.
5. Analytics manager
Average salary: A$118,820 (£66,070 / $83,980)
As already evidenced on this list, data – or rather the ability to manipulate and manage it – is a highly sought-after skill. For organisations who generate huge amounts of data, however, it’s likely that there will be entire teams of analysts and scientists trying to process everything; unsurprisingly, it’s up to the analytics manager to guide and steer the whole shebang.
For businesses or institutions that rely heavily on what their data tells them, this means big responsibilities and, therefore, a big paycheque. Most analytics managers start out as data analysts or scientists and combine their technical skills with experience and relevant management qualifications in order to work their way up.
4. IT security architect
Average salary: A$124,190 (£69,060 / $87,770)
With all the aforementioned data and infrastructure that is being compiled, stored and maintained within the digital realm, securing it and protecting it from malicious invaders is an increasingly massive priority for organisations. Cybersecurity experts – whether employed directly or in a consulting capacity – who can build and constantly update such systems are, therefore, worth their weight in gold, especially when operating in such a murky area of the online domain.
Although there are several sub-roles within cyber security (such as ethical hacking, forensics and information security), most security architects have a background in IT or computing, as well as a strong (and ongoing) understanding of how cybercriminals operate. Gaining industry-recognised certificates can also help to secure you a role.
3. IT manager
Average salary: A$125,660 (£69,870 / $88,810)
With technology enabling organisations to expand and operate in previously unavailable ways, there’s a lot of value in IT professionals who can bridge the gap between technical expertise and business development. To put it simply: project managers who can understand the needs of an organisation and identify how technology can solve those issues (and vice versa) can expect their skills to be highly in demand.
Again, you would need a strong educational background in IT and computing, as well as a knowledge of how businesses operate (this can be achieved by undertaking a master’s or a joint degree). A respected and recognised project management qualification would also be a big advantage, as will experience in your employer’s industry.
2. Engineering manager
Average salary: A$132,350 (£73,590 / $93,540)
Although the extent of your salary will depend on which discipline of engineering you work in, engineering managers can certainly expect to be very well paid for their endeavours. One particularly lucrative field, for instance, is in oil, gas and energy, while chemical engineers and mining engineers do especially well Down Under.
Engineers study at university in their chosen speciality before gaining experience in the field. Through further study (either back at university or through their employer), they can then build up a portfolio of management and supervisory qualifications on their way to the top of their profession. Incidentally, many engineers also gain business or economics qualifications and end up in executive or governmental roles as subject matter experts or policymakers (or both) in their respective field.
1. IT systems architect
Average salary: A$139,690 (£77,660 / $98,730)
Unsurprisingly, the highest average salary in Australia is also an IT position.
Systems architects are responsible for designing, building and testing entire infrastructures on behalf of any organisation that has an internal network. Many of these projects are highly complex and sensitive, demanding high levels of knowledge and experience from those who are responsible for their creation.
Given the high amount of technical expertise that systems architects possess, they can command large salaries from employers. They should, though, be experts in their field, and possess a strong academic background, a wealth of experience and a number of industry-relevant qualifications.
As you can see, STEM careers are the dominant force in the Australian job market right now, with high-paying roles in a variety of tech fields enticing immigrants and nationals alike.
If you’ve got qualifications or experience in these areas, then why not consider coupling your career with the famously laidback lifestyle that Australia’s modern and highly desirable cities offer?
Are you currently in the process of choosing a career? Do you work in any of these fields? What do you think of these figures? Let us know in the comments section below!
To avoid distorting the data, we have overlooked senior executive roles, such as company CEO, CFO or CTO positions; instead, we have focused our findings solely on the average salary of a particular profession. We feel that this gives a fairer and more realistic picture of the best-paying jobs.
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by Business Insider and PayScale. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 31 December 2018.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 20 February 2015.