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ATO Discloses the Highest-Paying Jobs in Australia

ATO Discloses the Highest-Paying Jobs in Australia

Australia offers a range of highest-paying jobs across various industries, where salary is often a significant factor. Understanding the wage levels in Australia and the professions that offer the most substantial financial rewards can help individuals make informed decisions about their career paths.

In this article, we will explore the highest-paying jobs in Australia in 2023 as compiled by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), highlighting their gross salary potential and discussing factors to consider when deciding if these professions are suitable to pursue.

Highest-Paying Jobs in Australia

The following are some of the highest-paying jobs in Australia according to ATO’s Taxation Statistics report for 2020-2021. It’s important to note that the job market can change over time, and the highest-paying jobs may vary depending on economic conditions and industry trends.


Surgeons top the list of high-paying professions in Australia. With their specialised skills and extensive training, surgeons earn a substantial income. The ATO listing tagged surgeons at earning on average, $457,281 a year, and there are only 4,157 of them in all of Australia.

However, becoming a surgeon requires a long and rigorous educational journey, including medical school, residency, and fellowship programmes. Additionally, The demanding nature of the profession, long working hours, and the responsibility of patients’ lives make it a career choice that requires utmost dedication and commitment. 


Anesthesiologists play a crucial role in surgical procedures, ensuring patients’ safety and comfort during surgery. Their expertise and responsibility come with significant financial rewards. The ATO listing ranked anaesthesiologists at No. 2 at $426,894, and there are 3,479 of them in the entire country.

Financial Dealers

Financial dealers, according to the ATO ranking, currently number 4,761 in all of Australia, and their average annual gross is $341,798. They may include stockbrokers or securities traders.

Internal Medicine Specialists

The ATO defined internal medicine specialists as specialist physicians, cardiologists, endocrinologists, neurologists, and paediatricians. They number 10,055 in all of Australia and their average annual gross pay is estimated at $334,267.


Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental illnesses, making a substantial impact on individuals’ well-being. With the rising demand for mental health services, psychiatrists are well-sought-after and command high salaries, with the ATO study tagging 3,071 psychiatrists in Australia as earning $270,412 on average a year.

Other Medical Practitioners

This covers medical professionals in Australia who are not categorised in the above medical professions, which among others, includes dermatologists, gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, pathologists, diagnostic/interventional radiologists, and radiation oncologists. They number 28,947, but the ATO estimates them to earn as much as $251,722 a year.

Mining Engineer

The mining industry plays a significant role in the Australian economy, and mining engineers are highly valued, as they are responsible for planning, designing, and overseeing mining operations.

Mining engineers often work in remote locations and face challenging conditions but the job can be physically demanding, and a strong technical background is necessary. In terms of compensation, the ATO estimates the 9,127 mining engineers in the country to earn $196,178 on an annual average.

Judicial/Legal Practitioners

For the judiciary and legal services industry, the ATO counts them at 4,025 people in the entire country, with the average annual pay at $193,388. This includes the judges, magistrates, and the clerks, but not barristers and solicitors.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) / Managing Director (MD)

CEOs or MDs hold the highest leadership positions in organisations and are responsible for strategic decision-making and overall company performance. The ATO ranks them at No. 9 of ten, with 224,015 such officials earning each an average of $177,506 a year. However, some sources point to the annual pay being much higher, especially when the CEO or MD is in charge of a major conglomerate with annual turnovers in the hundreds of millions.

Writing for Forbes, Jessica Mudditt pointed at big-time CEOs/MDs pocketing between $600k and $700k. And who could forget the 2022 prediction of then-new Telstra CEO Vicki Brady earning as much as $10m a year if the Big T landed stellar performance… but whose fixed salary was later set at $2.82m?

While the financial rewards of being in either role can be substantial, the path to reaching this position is highly competitive and demanding. Extensive experience, exceptional leadership skills, and the ability to navigate complex business environments are vital for success. Additionally, the pressure and responsibility of running an organisation may not be suitable for everyone.

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee an organisation’s financial operations, including budgeting, planning, and risk management. They play a critical role in ensuring the financial health and success of a company. The ATO listing puts them last, with 20,268 people earning $169,608 a year before deductions.

To become a financial manager, a strong background in finance, accounting, or economics is necessary. Attention to detail, analytical skills, and the ability to make informed financial decisions are vital for success in this role.

Pursuing Highest-Paying Jobs

While the high salaries associated with these professions may be appealing, it is important to consider various factors before pursuing them.

Personal Interest and Aptitude

Choosing a career solely based on financial rewards may not lead to long-term satisfaction. Consider your interests, passions, and strengths to ensure a good fit with the chosen profession. It is important to find a balance between financial stability and personal fulfilment.

Education and Training

Many of the high-paying professions mentioned require extensive education and training, often involving several years of study and practical experience. Assess your willingness and ability to invest the time, effort, and financial resources required to pursue these careers.

Work-Life Balance

Some high-paying professions, such as surgeons or CEOs, may come with demanding work schedules and high levels of stress. Consider whether you are comfortable with the work-life balance associated with these careers and the potential impact on personal relationships and overall well-being.

Job Market and Industry Outlook

Research the job market and industry trends to ensure that the profession you choose offers stability and growth opportunities. Some industries, like mining or petroleum, may be subject to fluctuations in demand and market conditions, which can impact job security.

Personal Values and Goals

Reflect on your personal values and long-term goals. While financial rewards are important, it is essential to align your career choices with your values and aspirations. Consider whether the chosen profession aligns with your desired lifestyle, impact on society, and overall life goals.

The most-paid job professions offer significant financial rewards, but they often come with specific requirements, demands, and considerations. While pursuing these professions can lead to financial success, it is necessary to evaluate personal interests, aptitude, and long-term goals.

Choosing a profession should be a holistic decision that takes into account not only the potential income but also personal passion, work-life balance, and alignment with your values and aspirations.

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DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute career advice. UBOMI has no relationships with any industry, government agency, or individual mentioned in the article.  Please consult a career counsellor for your options.