A guide to Australia’s highest paying jobs and income distribution

Australia may not have the biggest population in the world (23 million people), but this is still a vast country, with sometimes quite drastically different incomes across our states and cities.

To get a better picture of who earns what in our great nation, in addition to where they live, how old they are and other key facts, we’ve compiled a summary.

Australia’s highest paying jobs

Based on the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) findings for 2012-13, the following roles take the top 10 spots for highest average annual pay cheque. We’ve also included how many people have these jobs.

Profession Average annual salary Number of people
 Surgeons  $361,202 3,570
 Anaesthetists  $319,033 3,015
 Internal medicine specialist  $263,601 7,525
 Financial dealer  $219,213 5,090
 Legal professions  $192,189 2,645
 Psychiatrists  $186,778 2,610
 Mining engineers  $166,410 9,595
 Other medical practitioners  $166,025 30,455
 Chief executives and managing directors  $152,364 146,355
 Generalist medical practitioners  $144,498 23,430

While the medical professionals top and tail the list, we also see broader representation from the legal, mining, financial and broader business industries

Income versus age

Let’s take a look now at the population itself to see when we tend to earn the most money.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) most recent data on the subject reveals that household earning rises quite dramatically from our teens until mid-life, then gradually falls as we approach retirement.

The average weekly household income (note, that’s household, not individual person) sat at around $2,068.4 for those aged 25-29, rose to $2,347.2 by the time people were 45-49, then slowly dropped to $745.5 for the over-75 age bracket.

Age Bracket Weekly Household Income 52 weeks Household Income
25-29 $2,068.40 $107,556.80
45-49 $2,347.20 $122,054.40
Over 75 $745.50 $38,766

Where do high earners live?

High earners might want to live in a highly sought-after area, whereas those with lower salaries might prefer an area with more manageable rental costs.

For opulent mansions and neighbours with full pockets, the ATO’s statistics show that the following suburbs came out on top:

  1. Sydney’s suburbs of Edgecliff, Darling Point, Point Piper or HMAS Rushcutters
  2. St Andrews, on the outskirts of Melbourne
  3. Bellevue Hill, nearby the Sydney suburbs in the no. 1 spot
  4. Perth’s Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove areas
  5. Inner-east Melbourne’s Hawksburn and Toorak suburbs

Australian state economic rankings

Commonwealth Securities (CommSec) recently released its State of the States 2015 rankings, comparing each of our regions against each other based on various economic indicators.

ACT currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

However, if you compare all of CommSec’s economic variables against each other, which also include retail spending, dwelling costs and population growth, the rankings change. Indeed, the strongest state as of July this year was NSW.

Here are the rankings in full:

State Unemployment Rate Overall State Ranking
ACT 4.1% 6th
NT 4.5% 3rd
WA 5.5% 4th
NSW 5.8% 1st
VIC 6.2% 2nd
QLD 6.3% 5th
TAS 6.8% 8th
SA 7.8% 7th

Where do you compare against the rest of Australia?

Have you covered your income? Consider Virgin Income Protection.