Australia's Top 10 highest-paying jobs in 2021

By Emilly Parris | 04 May 2021

When it comes to choosing a career, how well you are compensated and your job security are likely to be among the most important deciding factors. Whether your business has had to pivot, or you’ve been let go and decided to carve a new path for yourself—there are still many jobs that offer a high salary, job growth and better job security.

Which job has the highest salary in Australia?

Jobs with high salaries can be found across the industries of IT and finance. Roles like Head of Operations, IT Security Architect and Chief Technology Officer offer salaries of up to $180,000 per year. 

Below are some of the highest paying jobs in Australia in 2021, according to Michael Page and IDP.

The 10 highest paying jobs in Australia in 2021:

1. General Manager.

General Managers oversee the daily operations of the business and ensure that strategic goals are met by setting operational policies, managing and creating budgets and employee management

They are also responsible for reporting key results to senior executives and directing the activities surrounding sales, marketing, or customer service within the business. According to Glassdoor, a General Manager's average base salary in Australia is $170,000 per year. 

Recommended course: BSB50420 - Diploma of Leadership and Management 

2. Project Manager. 

Project Managers are responsible for the planning, organising and executing projects in a company. They always work in a team and need to be highly adaptable since they work with different people and may be expected to work across different environments from time-to-time. 

They may also face complex work scenarios where they will need to be flexible and have a strong ability to problem-solve. According to Indeed, a Project Manager's base salary in Australia is $118,894 per year but is also dependent on what type of industry they work in. 

Recommended course: BSB50820 - Diploma of Project Management 

3. Head of Operations. 

smiling man looking at camera with arms crossed

The Head of Operations oversees the activities within the functions of finance, IT and regulatory compliance. They also design policies, oversee customer service and find ways to implement technology solutions so that the operations of the business is in order and runs smoothly to boost employee productivity. 

People looking to work as the Head of Operations ideally need to be analytical and strategic. They also need to have a broader sense of knowledge of the business to excel in their role. The average salary for the Head of Operations in Australia is $136,234 per year. 

Recommended course: BSB50420 - Diploma of Leadership and Management

4. Chief Technology Officer. 

The Chief Technology Officer ensures that the technical aspects of an organisation fits in well with the company's growth targets. This is a senior executive role that has them usually reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

They are also responsible for maintaining the company's network, researching ways to make improvements on technical assets and create networking safeguards to ensure that the company's technologies are protected from security breaches. According to Indeed, the average base salary for this role in Australia is $176,359 per year. 

Recommended course: SBAIO - Bachelor of Applied Technology

5. Portfolio Manager. 

A Portfolio Manager is responsible for managing and creating investment allocations for private clients. These can be for individuals and families. Some portfolio managers also work with corporate or institutional investors. Depending on what route they take, they can either create investment packages supplied to clients or manage expectations and transactions for them. 

They are required to buy and sell securities in an investor's account in order to meet the requirements of a particular investment strategy or objective. In order to do this successfully, portfolio managers need to conduct interviews so they can best understand the needs of their clients. According to Payscale, the average base salary for a Portfolio Manager in Australia is $122,859 per year.  

6. Health and Wellbeing Manager. 

smiling middle aged woman

Health and Wellbeing Managers are hired to set key objectives when it comes to the health and wellness and staff members. They plan activities and programs that promote wellness and employee engagement across the workplace. 

They also look after the work health safety aspect within an organisation to ensure that they are compliant. Health and wellbeing managers find ways to reduce potential workplace claims and provide coaching to those returning to work from injury. According to Indeed, the average base pay for the role of Health and Wellbeing Manager in Australia is $126,919 per year. 

Recommended course: BSB51319 - Diploma of Work Health and Safety 

7. Cloud Engineer.

A Cloud Engineer handles any technological duties related to cloud computing. These can be specific to design, planning, management, maintenance and support. Companies that hire cloud engineers generally need skilled workers that can provide good technical solutions for the business, particularly in the cloud services that they use. 

Cloud engineers generally work on a specific type of cloud computing and they need at least three to five years of experience with cloud services, including software development, system engineering and scripting languages. According to Indeed, the average base salary for a Cloud Engineer in Australia is $120,542. 

Recommended course: ICT50120 - Diploma of Information Technology (Cloud Engineering)

8. IT Security Architect

An IT Security Architect is responsible for managing the security systems within an organisation's IT network. This means that they design, build and test these security systems to ensure that they are up to protocol. IT Security Architects need to have a thorough understanding of complex IT systems and keep up with the latest security standards. They also need to prepare for any possible security threats and identify any areas of weakness in a network system.

To ensure security systems are kept from potential security breaches, IT Security Architects also teach staff members how to keep safe online from cyber attacks, improving their sense of security awareness and ensuring that security policies are followed. According to Payscale, the average base salary for an IT Security Architect in Australia is $153,554. 

Recommended course: ICT50120 - Diploma of Information Technology (Cyber Security)

9. IT Manager.

The IT Manager has the role of leading the IT department, looking after the network and data security of the organisation. They also design training programs and workshops for staff members, as well as finding opportunities where they can make improvements on software and systems. IT Managers also oversee and determine the timeframes of major IT projects. This could either be working on migrations or outages. 

IT Managers also look after the professional development of their team, finding opportunities for team training and implementing policies to ensure that staff adhere to the use of the IT systems. According to Payscale, the average base salary for an IT Manager in Australia is $103,896. 

Recommended course: ICT50120 - Diploma of Information Technology 

10. IT Systems Architect. 

The IT Systems Architect is responsible for the design, maintenance and implementation of databases and computer systems for an organisation. In order for them to do this, they need to work alongside the company to understand their business objective with the assigned resources and budgets assigned to them, ensuring that their employees get the best user experience when it comes to their roles. 

An IT Systems Architect may also be involved in the installation of both hardware and software for these computer systems. They ensure that the client and company needs are met so establishing rapport with staff members and developers is essential to succeed in the role. They may also offer technical support and instruction manuals to users for installation. According to Payscale, the average base salary for an IT Systems Architect in Australia is $120,668. 

Recommended course: ICT50120 - Diploma of Information Technology (Advanced Networking)

Are you interested in these high paying jobs?

If you’re interested in changing careers or moving into a higher paying role, Upskilled offers a wide range of online courses in top industries that are hiring right now. If you’re considering online study, now could be the right time to kick-start your career.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2020. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 
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