Careers to Consider: The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia for 2021

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We’ve all been asked about what we want to do after we graduate and we know it can be a daunting question to think about! Which is why we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia for 2021 to help you explore potential future career options.

Of course, choosing your career path should also be influenced by heaps of factors including your passions and interests, but income is undoubtedly a big factor to consider! 

Let’s dive right in!

#10 Engineering Manager

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Engineering Manager

Engineering Managers are responsible for planning, organising, implementing and monitoring the engineering strategies, operations and policies of organisations. This includes a range of different tasks including developing a project schedule, ensuring the plan is time and cost efficient, conforming with safety standards, meeting laws and regulations, and more.

Engineering Managers earn around $159,940 on average and according to JobOutlook, career prospects are expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years.  

Working as an Engineering Manager usually requires a relevant undergraduate degree or a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. A postgraduate degree might also be useful. 

An undergraduate degree in engineering is a great pathway into a career as an Engineering Manager. Check out the 5 best engineering faculties in Australia here!

#9 Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director 

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - CEO

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) or Managing Directors are another one of the highest paying jobs in Australia for 2021. They’re involved in planning, formulating and overseeing the general policies and overall direction of organisations.

CEOs and Managing Directors have an average taxable income of $164,896 but demand is expected to decline over the next 5 years

Becoming a CEO or Managing Director doesn’t require any formal qualification but a relevant degree or Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in business or management might be useful. You also need to have managerial experience and experience within the relevant sector to work as a CEO or Managing Director. 

If you’re considering a career as a CEO, you might like to start off with an undergraduate business degree. Read more about the Top 5 Business Schools in Australia here!   

#8 Mining Engineer

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Mining Engineer

Mining Engineers are involved in planning and directing the engineering aspects of mining processes. They work to develop new mines, locate and extract minerals and design safe and efficient mining techniques. 

Mining Engineers are also involved in creating sustainable practices that minimise the environmental impact of mining. On average, they earn around $184,507. 

If mining engineering has caught your eye, you can consider studying an engineering degree with a relevant major such as mining or geotechnical engineering. 

#7 Judicial or other legal professionals

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Judicial

Judicial and legal professionals include a range of different roles such as judges, magistrates and tribunal members. As one of the highest paying jobs in Australia for 2021, they’re responsible for hearing legal matters in courts and tribunals and analysing and interpreting the law.

They’re also involved in drafting legislation and advising the government of legal matters. Judicial and legal professionals have an average taxable income of around $188,798 and these careers are expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years

In order to be eligible for a career as a Judicial or Legal Professional, you need to have completed an undergraduate law degree and have been licensed to practice law for at least 8 years. They are usually appointed by an Attorney-General or a State or Federal Governor. 

Thinking this job might be the one for you? You can read more about the Top 5 Law Schools in Australia to help you consider undergraduate degree options!  

If you’re thinking of a certain law specialisation, check out the different types of lawyers here!

#6 Other medical practitioners

Medical Practitioners

We’ve looked at a range of medical jobs so far but there are a lot of other high income medical careers that all fall under a similar umbrella! Careers in this group have an average taxable income of $222,933.

Other medical practitioners include various occupations such as gynaecologists, dermatologists, pathologists and more. 

Given the wide variety of different Medical Practitioners, this umbrella group has a lot of different study and career pathways! You’ll most likely need to start with an undergraduate medicine degree and then obtain further training in your area of specialisation.

#5 Psychiatrist

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical practitioners who specialise in mental health. They assess, diagnose, treat and prevent mental health conditions such as depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety.

People often get psychiatrists and psychologists confused with each other and while there are some similarities, they’re actually different careers. While both of them are trained to treat mental health disorders, psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors who can prescribe a range of different therapies and medications.

The average taxable income of Psychiatrists is around $235,558. 

Starting off with an undergraduate Medicine degree, you can work towards becoming a Psychiatrist by first becoming a qualified medical doctor and then completing specialised training with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Learn about a career as a psychiatrist here!

#4 Financial Dealer

Financial Dealer

Financial Dealers obtain information about securities, government regulations, market conditions and the financial circumstances of their clients to provide advice on financial matters and conduct transactions on behalf of clients. They monitor the financial marketplace including future prices, market changes and more.

Financial Dealers have an average taxable income of $275,984 however, according to JobOutlook, prospects are actually expected to decline over the next 5 years

If you think working as a Financial Dealer is a potential job for you, you can kickstart your career with an undergraduate degree in business, commerce, or economics. You can also get a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. 

Read more about the Top 5 best economics schools in Australia here!  

#3 Internal Medicine Specialist

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Internal Medicine Specialist

As the job title suggests, Internal Medicine Specialists are highly specialised medical practitioners who apply scientific and clinical knowledge to provide care to adults. They diagnose and treat diseases related to any organ systems. Some common diseases treated by Internal Medicine Specialists include allergies, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other conditions.

The average income for Internal Medicine Specialists is around $304,752.

Want to consider a career in Internal Medicine? You’ll need, you guessed it, a degree in Medicine and experience as a Medical Practitioner. You can then specialise as an Internal Medicine Specialist with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

#2 Anaesthetist 

Anaesthetist

Anaesthetists work in a range of different fields within medicine including surgery, intensive care, pain medicine, resuscitation, and more. They’re highly qualified specialists who provide patients with care during medical procedures such as surgery.

Anaesthetists have an average taxable income of $386,065 and according to JobOutlook, is in-demand with strong future growth.  

If you’re thinking of becoming an Anaesthetist, you’re most likely already a very compassionate and empathetic person and want to make a difference to the lives of others!

Anaesthesia is a very qualified field and you’ll need to progress through an undergraduate and postgraduate Medicine degree before you apply for a specialisation as an Anaesthetist. You can build a good foundation for Anaesthesia with an undergraduate Medicine degree. 

Here are some undergraduate Medicine degrees you could study: 

#1 Surgeon 

Highest Paying Jobs in Australia - Surgeon

A career as a Surgeon is the #1 highest paying job in Australia for 2021 and according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the average taxable income for surgeons is $394,303.

Surgeons are a crucial part of the healthcare system and are responsible for performing surgical operations on patients to treat and resolve a range of medical disorders including diseases and injuries. They often specialise in a particular type of operation such as neurosurgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and more. 

If a career as a surgeon has caught your eye, you can start by studying an undergraduate Medical Sciences degree. This will give you a solid foundation for a career in a medical field but you’ll also need to complete further postgraduate studies in order to qualify as a surgeon.  

Check out the Top 5 Medical Schools in Australia here

So there you have it!

We’ve looked at the top 10 highest paying jobs in Australia for 2021. These statistics are definitely important when it comes to thinking about uni and career pathways, but don’t forget to consider your passions, interests and talents too! 


Maitreyi Kulkarni is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Public Relations and Social Media) at Macquarie University. She loves writing just about anything from articles to poetry, and has also had one of her articles published with the ABC. When she’s not writing up a storm, she can be found reading, bingeing sitcoms, or playing the guitar.



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