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The jobs paying the highest salaries in Australia
Whether you’re a senior executive in your current industry or a graduate considering your future professional ambitions, salary is likely one of the main contributing factors in your career decisions. While some professions and industries (such as finance and tech) will always be well-paid jobs in Australia, some of the current highest paid jobs and the growing industries out there may come as a surprise.
We recently released the Michael Page Salary Guide 2019, where we delved into salary benchmarks across the nation’s key industries and roles. So what jobs have the highest salaries, and how does it stack up to last year? Here, we take a look at the 10 best paid jobs in Australia in 2019.
1. Managing Director (Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, or Industrial)
Managing Directors (MDs) have historically earned some of the biggest salaries across the nation, and as expected, this year these roles are still ranked as one of the highest paid jobs in Australia. As the most senior role within a company and the operational leader of the business, the MD is responsible for the company’s overall performance and profitability, and often has to also report to a board of directors or the CEO.
Managing Directors typically earn a base salary, then receive a bonus for on-target earnings (OTE) based on a company’s performance. MD roles in the pharmaceutical industry have some of the highest paying jobs in Australia, with an average annual salary of $366,000 including on-target earnings, and a maximum annual salary of $420,000. Similar roles in healthcare bring in $330,000 on average per year plus OTE, with a maximum annual salary of $430,000, and those in the consumer sector earn $360,000 on average plus OTE, and top out at $420,000.
2. Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) have a significant responsibility in any company: they oversee company’s overall financial performance, from ensuring the best return on assets possible to managing the liquidity of a business and reporting the company’s financial performance to key stakeholders, management and shareholders.
Unsurprisingly, those who look after finances also receive a significant amount of finances in return: CFOs then have one of the best paid jobs in Australia and also are one of the most in-demand roles in the finance sector. CFOs earn an average annual salary of $350,000 and can earn a maximum salary of $450,000, while a Finance Director or a Head of Finance can expect to earn an average salary of $215,000 per year and a maximum salary of $250,000.
3. In-house General Counsel
Due to the specialised nature of the profession and the high level of training involved, general counsel positions consistently rank as one of the highest paying jobs in Australia, regardless of whether the role is in a listed company, mid-sized company, or an SME. General Counsel roles that require zero to three years of experience have an average remuneration of $283,000 per year at ASX100-listed companies, while these roles in SMEs average $205,000 per year.
As professionals become more experienced, they also are rewarded with hefty pay rises: candidates applying for In-house General Counsel with over 7 years of experience can expect an average salary of $438,000 per year at ASX100 companies, $363,000 at mid-cap companies, and $300,000 in SMEs.
4. General Manager (Construction – Project Management)
The construction industry has experienced a 15 per cent growth in jobs posted over the last year, and the highest skills in demand are for Project Managers with 5 to 10 years of experience after graduation. With increased government and private spending on construction in property and infrastructure, and a shortage of specialised talent in project management on the client side, it should come as no surprise that project managers have one of the top paying jobs in Australia in 2019.
General Managers in Construction Project Management can expect to earn around $350,000 per year on average, and can have an impressive maximum salary of $400,000.
5. Head of Operations (Mining)
Although the mining industry experienced some slowdown in the past years, the industry is back in full swing in 2019 with many major mining projects awarded and a 60 per cent increase in job postings in the past 12 months. This increased demand and new visa regulations have made it more challenging for companies to hire overseas contractors, meaning that companies are now competing for the top talent in the Australian market.
The Head of Operations role is integral to the success of mining projects, and these professionals earn an average salary of $325,000 per year, with a maximum salary of $350,000. However, many roles are based in Western Australia, meaning candidates from the eastern seaboard may need to consider short or long term relocation for the best job prospects.
6. Sales Director (Technology and Telecommunications, Business Services, or Consumer)
Sales is a performance-driven sector and while sales professionals may start with a lower base salary than others, added bonuses and commissions mean a Sales Director role is another highly paid job in Australia.
Sales Directors are in charge of a company’s overall sales strategy for client recruitment and retention, and companies reward employees with generous incentives based on results. Sales Directors in the Technology and Telecommunications industry can earn a maximum of $375,000 per year plus OTE, while those in Business Services can earn a maximum of $308,000 including OTE, while those in the Consumer industry have a maximum earning potential of $285,000.
7. Chief Technology Officer/Head of Technology
With the fast growing nature of the tech industry, and the shortage of skilled workers to meet increasing demand, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Head of Technology (HoT) roles also enjoy some of the highest salaries in Australia.
CTO and HoT roles can expect an average base salary of $300,000 per year, with a maximum base salary of $350,000. These roles aren’t purely limited to tech companies either. The top industries for tech skills include the public sector, fast-moving consumer goods, professional services, financial services, and retail.
8. Vice President/Associate Director (Financial Services)
Similar to CFOs, Vice President (VP) and Associate Director (AD) roles in the Financial Services sector have high-paying jobs in Australia. VP or AD roles in Mergers and Acquisitions bring home an expected salary of $263,000 per year on average, while VP/AD roles in Leveraged Finance earn $250,000 on average per year. Those in Fixed Income Sales/Trading, Debt Capital Markets, and Syndications can expect to earn $240,000 per year on average.
However, the maximum earning potential is slightly better for those in Debt Capital Markets than other industries, with a maximum annual salary of $295,000 compared to $290,000 for Fixed Income Sales/Trading and Syndications at $270,000 per year.
9. Development Director (Property)
Property Development Directors historically have had well paid jobs in Australia, but in 2019 this trend continues, particularly after a recent report ranked Melbourne and Sydney as part of the top three cities in the Asia Pacific for property investment.
Development Directors manage the fundraising and investment strategy for a property development, as well as oversee the project management, and receive generous remuneration to do so, with an average annual salary of $275,000. The maximum income is $300,000 per year.
10. HR Director/Head of HR
As demand continues to outstrip supply for skilled candidates across key industries, businesses are putting more focus on attracting and retaining the best talent. HR Directors are responsible for creating a strategy to ensure the top candidates are remunerated and motivated to stay within the company, so it’s no surprise they are ranked amongst the highest paying jobs in Australia.
An HR Director can expect to bring in an average salary of $242,000 per year, with a maximum annual salary around $280,000.