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The highest paying jobs in Australia

Australia may not have the biggest population in the world at approximately 24.5 million people, but we still live in a vast country, with often 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 handy summary.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 best paying jobs in Australia. 

So, what's the highest paying job in Australia?

Based on the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) findings for 2020-21, surgeons are the highest-paid individuals in Australia. Followed closest by Anaesthetists than Financial Dealers.



Average annual salary

Number of people










Financial Dealer




Internal Medicine Specialist








Other Medical Practitioner




Mining Engineer



Judicial or other legal professional




Chief Executive officer or Managing Director




Financial investment advisor or manager



Let’s unpack the top 5

1. Surgeons

With only 4,157 surgeons reported in our country, their average taxable income of $457,281 reflects their important role in society. Becoming a surgeon is a long and challenging process and the role involves a significant amount of risk. Surgeons must complete five to seven years in education and training after receiving their medical degree from a university. The skill, hand-eye coordination and ability to make quick decisions in high-pressure situations required to become a surgeon explains why it’s the highest paid job in Australia.

2. Anaesthetist

Much like surgeons, there are only a handful of people who can perform this hugely important role (3,479 to be exact). An anaesthetist is responsible for the administration and monitoring of anaesthesia during surgeries and other medical procedures. Similar to surgeons, there is a fair bit of risk involved with this job as well as a lengthy specialist training program.

3. Financial Dealer

Financial dealers advise their clients about the financial market, as well as buy, sell and trade stocks on behalf of clients for their employer. These people must ensure they are keeping up to date with the latest market developments, and regulation changes, paired with a deep understanding of financial markets, risk management techniques and investment products.

4. Internal Medicine Specialist

Internal medicine specialists are medical professionals like cardiologists, neurologists, paediatricians and endocrinologists, to name a few. These specialists provide comprehensive care for their patients, including routine check-ups, disease screenings and management of chronic illnesses. Similarly to the other medical professions, it’s a lengthy process to become a medical doctor in Australia, but well worth it in the long run.

5. Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists diagnose, treat and prevent mental illnesses and emotional disorders. These can include anxiety, addiction and personality, eating or psychotic disorders. It can take up to 12 years of education and training on top of high school to become a psychiatrist. A contributing factor to their handsome average income of $270,412 can be attributed to the fact there are just over 3000 psychiatrists currently practising in Australia.

The Australian average income

For context, according to the 2021 census, the national median personal income is $805 per week. This is a $143 increase from 2016.

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 postcodes came out on top:

  1. 2028, NSW – Double Bay
  2. 2030, NSW – Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay
  3. 6011, WA – Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove
  4. 3142, VIC – Hawksburn and Toorak
  5. 3944, VIC – Portsea

Australian state economic rankings

The Australian Government regularly releases data on unemployment rates around the country. Here are the rankings in full, as of May, 2023:

State/Territory Unemployment rate
Australian Capital Territory 3.1%
Northern Territory 3.1%
Western Australia 3.7%
New South Wales 3%
Victoria 3.7%
Queensland 3.9%
Tasmania 4.2%
South Australia 4%

You can read more about the full list of the top 10 highest paying jobs on the ATO website.  

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