15 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia: 2021 Edition
The Australian job market is always evolving, with many people keeping a keen eye on the current best-paying jobs as we enter 2021. If you’re looking to transition into a role that is high-paying, stable and offers good job growth, here are some possible pathways to keep your eye on.
The 15 highest-paying jobs in Australia
1. General Counsel
It’s no secret that law is an incredibly high-paying industry. If you’re looking to make big bucks, private and in-house law is the niche to get into. According to Michael Page, General Counsel is the most lucrative job title in Australia.
A General Counsel is the chief lawyer of a legal department, typically within a company or government department. After building around seven years of experience, general counsels can expect to earn around $438,000 a year if working in-house at ASX 100-listed companies.
To secure a high-paying position as an in-house lawyer, you will need to:
With the risk and complexity that is involved, it’s no surprise that Anaesthetists tend to be incredibly high earners. Anaesthetists work as part of a surgical team, administering general or local anaesthetic to patients.
The median income for an Anaesthetist is an impressive $385,242, meaning that half of all Anaesthetists actually earn more than this.
To work in this high-stakes field, you will need to:
Right behind Anaesthetists on the income scale are their colleagues, Surgeons. Surgeons carry out preoperative diagnosis, operations and postoperative treatments for a variety of conditions. All Surgeons have to start off as a general surgeon before entering a speciality if they choose to.
General Surgeons have an average salary of $320,186. Neurosurgeons, however, average an annual salary of $600,387, showing that it can really pay off to specialise!
To make it to the operating theatre, you need to:
4. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Considered an ’emerging role’, Chief Technology Officers are now highly sought-after. The technology sector continues to thrive, driven by the growth of big data, the rise of AI, and the challenges posed by COVID-19.
In 2020, a CTO or Head of Technology earned a median base salary of $320,000 per year, up by $20,000 since 2019.
CTOs are tasked with managing the technical aspects and resources of an organisation, working towards technological development and ensuring digital readiness.
To become a CTO, you need to:
5. Sales Director
Sales Directors consistently earn the big bucks year after year. Specifically, Sales Directors in the consumer, tech and telecommunications, pharma and medical device industries are likely to earn more than their counterparts in other industries.
Sales Directors have a base salary of $260,000, with potential bonuses ranging from $50,000-150,000 a year! It’s also possible to become a Sales Manager without a tertiary degree, making it one of the highest-paying non-degree jobs.
As a Sales Director, you will lead your company’s sales team, set quotas and goals, create sales plans and analyse data.
To become a Sales Director, you have to:
6. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Unsurprisingly, the executive-level position of Chief Financial Officer is consistently high-paying. The average base salary for this role is $350,000, but can up to an incredible $450,000 with bonuses.
CFOs are responsible for managing the financial activities of an organisation, including tracking cash flow, financial planning and analysing company strengths and weaknesses.
To earn bank as a CFO, you should:
7. General Manager
The median salary for General Managers is between $275,000-280,000. In thriving industries like Construction, General Managers can make $400,000-500,000.
As the name suggests, General Managers oversee all company operations, including allocating budget resources, formulating policies, monitoring staff, improving administration processes and engaging with vendors.
To start bringing home the bacon as a General Manager, you’ll have to:
8. Internal Medicine Specialist
Another high-earning position in healthcare is as an Internal Medicine Specialist. Typically known as a General Physician (GP), these medical professionals treat a broad range of illnesses and ailments.
The average income for Internal Medicine Specialists sits at $268,247 a year. To enter the field, you’ll have to:
9. Investment Strategist or Director
After about 10 years of experience, Investment Strategists or Directors enjoy a median base salary of $250,000 and a maximum of $320,000.
Investment Strategists or Directors are at the executive level of a company and are responsible for creating investment goals and strategies, collaborating with investment officers, and analyse the performance of various investments.
To get into this challenging field, you will have to:
Psychiatrists are mental health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat various mental health concerns including depression, bipolar and addiction. Psychiatrists are also able to prescribe medicine, adding another lawyer of complexity to their roles.
On average, psychiatrists earn $213,683 a year, although it’s not unheard of to earn over $300,000.
To enter this meaningful profession, you need to:
11. Engineering Manager
Engineering Managers are responsible for directing an organisation’s technical operations by overseeing teams of engineers, working with architects and successfully delivering engineering and construction projects.
The most common salary for Engineering Managers is just over $200,000 a year.
To reach this high-level position, you’ll have to:
12. Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Like other executive-level positions on this list, COOs also earn an impressive salary. The median annual base salary for COOs is $250,000, while some can earn up to $300,000.
COOs oversee the day-to-day administrative and operational aspects of a business, typically acting as the second-in-command after the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). If working in a smaller company, you could become a COO within 10 years. If at a larger company, however, this could take a lot longer.
To become a high-flying COO, you should:
13. Senior Site Manager
Senior Site Managers in the Construction industry oversee projects from start to finish, requiring strong project management skills, working knowledge of building regulations, and a solid grasp of OH&S protocol.
The median salary for Senior Site Managers is $235,000 but can go up to $400,000 if working for a lucrative company. The best part is that you won’t have to spend an awful lot of time in school to get qualified.
To get to the top of the chain as a Senior Site Manager, you’ll have to:
14. Solution Architect
With tech growing in importance, Solutions Architects are now in high demand. As a Solutions Architect, you’ll assess computer systems, develop new technological solutions and integrate hardware and software into your organisation’s existing environment.
Solutions Architects make an average of $180,000 a year and are set to enjoy great job stability.
To become a Solutions Architect, you should:
15. Mining Engineer
The mining sector continues to thrive in Australia, with Mining Engineers being highly sought-after. These mining professionals plan, coordinate and direct the extraction of natural resources from the earth, like minerals and petroleum.
Mining Engineers earn an average income of $156,126, making them some of the most highly paid professionals in their sector.
To hit the ground running as a Mining Engineer, you’ll need:
Our data on Australia’s highest earners
While the economy behaved unpredictably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, previously-collected data can still offer a valuable insight into the kinds of roles that are likely to remain high-paying in 2021.
Seek’s 2018 Employment Report, the Australian Taxation Office’s 2017-18 financial year data and the Michael Page salary guide from 2020 all give a glimpse into what roles may remain lucrative in 2021. The ATO’s data shows that the medical field continues to be one of the most lucrative avenues to pursue.
Aside from medical practitioners, tech professionals are also set to pull in the big bucks in 2021. For example, the 2013 Seek employment report found Mining, Resources & Energy to be the highest-paying industry, while the latest 2018 report revealed the sudden dominance of the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
As we continue into the new year, we are likely to see these tech roles continue to pay handsomely. According to Anders Sörman-Nilsson of Thinque think tank, “a decade’s worth of technological advancement and skills evolution is being compressed into 2020 due to COVID-19. The virus has unleashed a global ‘future of work’ experiment on us all.”
If you have a career change on the horizon, maybe consider one of the above roles to ensure you set yourself up for success in 2021. Explore our relevant courses to make sure you have the know-how necessary to make your mark in your new job.
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