Whether you’re seeking a promotion, negotiating a pay rise or changing careers, understanding average salaries for your role and industry can help you get ahead.

In our 2021 Australian Salary Guide we examined key insights into the highest paying jobs in Australia, as well as the latest hiring and talent trends across the nation.

The data from our salary comparison tool is based on real job placements across industries such as technology, healthcare and life sciences, and banking and financial services.

Projected annual salary increases in Australia

In 2020, few industries were left unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic and this, in turn, impacted employment. However, the salary outlook for 2021 is positive.

Although Australia registered its first economic recession in nearly 30 years, 43% of employers intend to increase salaries in 2021. More than half of surveyed companies say that the annual salary increase is similar or higher than in recent years.

Additionally, 35% of companies intend to give out bonus payments. Of these companies, 28% say they plan to give out more than one month’s bonus.

Average salary increase by sector

Key sectors Average % of all employers Average % of those employers planning an increase
Banking & Financial Services 1.3% 2.6%
E-commerce/Internet 2.7% 4.3%
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) 1.6% 2.3%
Healthcare & Life Sciences 1.9% 2.4%
Industrial & Manufacturing 1.2% 1.8%
Natural Resources & Energy  1.6% 2.7%
Professional Services 1.6% 2.9%
Property & Construction 1.8% 2.9%
Retail 2.0% 2.7%
Technology 1.8% 3.0%
Transport & Distribution 1.3% 2.0%

What is the highest paying job in Australia?

The legal sector continues to pay some of the most generous salaries in Australia, with experienced In-House General Counsel roles at ASX100 companies taking the title of highest paying job in Australia. General Counsel positions at other companies also fall well into the six figures.

Project Managers in the Construction industry remain among the highest income earners, earning an average of $350,000 annually. Meanwhile, looking at jobs that pay $200k a year in Australia, Portfolio Managers in the IT sector have made their way into the top earners, bringing in an average annual salary of $280,000.

While some high paying roles in 2021 remain similar to last year, it’s difficult to ignore the impact technology has had on Australian workers. With an increased focus on remote work, tracking and communication solutions, interest and investment into this sector has grown rapidly as reflected in the data. A surge in demand for leadership roles in the IT sector has also led to a boost in salary, with many of these roles making their way up the list.

Workplace trends also appear to have evolved over the past year, with many organisations incorporating more agile working policies, allowing employees to have more control over where and when they work. Flexible work arrangements can impact salary rates, but work/life balance is an equally important consideration for many Australian job seekers.

Here are the top-paying jobs in Australia in 2021.

10. Head of Compliance (Legal

Average salary: $277,500

9. Portfolio Manager (Information Technology

Average salary: $280,000

8. Chief Financial Officer (Finance

Average salary: $280,000

 7. Head of Technology (Information Technology)

Average salary: $300,000

 6. Chief Technology Officer (Information Technology)

Average salary: $300,000

 5. Investment Director (Finance

Average salary: $300,000

4. Head of Operations (Mining)

Average salary: $325,000

3. Company Secretary (Legal

Average salary: $342,500

2. General Manager/Project Manager (Construction)

Average salary: $350,000

1. In-house General Counsel (ASX 100)

Average salary range: $300,000 to $500,000.

Download the full 2021 salary guide for more insights into the best paying jobs in Australia and key talent trends.

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