Australian salaries on the rise

Good news for job seekers: salaries in Australia are on the rise. According to SEEK’s latest Salary Review, Australian industries are offering higher salaries for vacant positions than they were a year ago.

Based on the roles advertised on SEEK from July 2013 to June 2014, the research shows that 64% of industries are paying more for new hires than they would have in the previous 12 months.

SEEK’s annual salary survey shows that the highest average salaries nationwide are in the mining, resources and energy industry, which were $120,793 per annum during the survey period. Other industries with high average salaries are consulting and strategy ($108,225), engineering ($105,608) and construction ($104,754).

New South Wales is the state with the most salary growth over the last year, followed by South Australia and Queensland.

Based on advertised jobs, the top five growth industries for salary increases are:

  • Insurance and superannuation – average salary of $81,049 (6% increase)
  • Farming, animals and conservation – average salary of $70,992 (5% increase)
  • Retail and consumer products – average salary of $58,397 (5% increase)
  • Call centre and customer service – average salary of $55,145 (4% increase)
  • Education and training – average salary of $71,848 (4% increase)

These results suggest that moving state, upskilling or retraining to work in another industry could be beneficial for some job seekers whose salaries have remained stagnant. There could also be opportunities for job seekers to move or commute to local hotspots, where infrastructure and other projects are boosting salaries and employment opportunities.

New South Wales

New South Wales residents earn almost 3% more than the average Australian, with the state’s average salary for vacant positions now at $82,174. In the past year, incomes have risen in 64% of the state's industries.

Managing Director of SEEK Employment and Learning Joe Powell says, “The best places to be in NSW currently for salary rises are Gosford and the Central Coast (3.3% increase), followed closely by the Mid North Coast and Port Macquarie (2.9% increase). Vacancies in these areas were boosted by infrastructure projects and the redevelopment of university campuses”.

“The jump in salaries could be attributed to investments such as the $100 million paediatric wing recently opened as part of Port Macquarie Base Hospital’s stage one redevelopment,” says Powell.

Industries with the strongest salary growth in NSW include education and training (4% increase), and community services and development (4% increase). This is great news for those looking to get into a more fulfilling career in teaching, youth work, or social welfare.

Get the skills to work in:

  • Education & Training: Teachers, trainers and education aides are needed in many areas across the public and private sectors.
  • Community Services: The community assistance sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in Australia, with an increasing need for aged care and personal care professionals.

South Australia

The South Australia salary insights show a lot of promise, with SEEK revealing that 61% of industries in SA are offering to pay higher salaries for vacant positions than 12 months ago.

High earning potential in SA can currently be found in the science and technology sectors. Information and communication technology consultants, for example, are witnessing an average salary growth nudging 20%. The recently opened Port Macquarie Base Hospital paediatric unit is expected to boost opportunities.

Get the skills to work in:


Queenslanders will be pleased to hear that 54% of industries in the Sunshine State are paying higher salaries for vacant positions than 12 months ago.

Several government-led areas are still offering positive salary increases for vacant roles, despite much-publicised austerity measures.

Looking forward, workers in regional areas of Queensland could benefit from the opening of Australia’s largest coal mine, the Carmichael Coal and Rail Project. According to the Queensland Government, the project has the potential to create over 2,400 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational jobs.

The key industries for salary growth in Queensland include the health and medical sectors, the government and defence sectors, and education and training. Average salaries in hospitality and tourism also increased by 2%.

Get the skills to work in:

  • Health & Medical: Health is on the forefront of the national agenda. Study options for a head start in this industry include medicine and health administration.
  • Government & Defence: Become a policy analyst, project manager or even a research designer. These jobs come with great employee conditions, a healthy work/life balance and reasonable job security.
  • Hospitality: There is a critical skills shortage in hospitality, which means unprecedented demand for skilled restaurant managers, guest services staff and more. Study options include a Diploma of Hospitality or Bachelor of Hospitality Management.


Salary growth in the regional areas of Mildura (4.8% increase), Shepparton and Goulburn Valley (3.2% increase) are trumping metropolitan areas when it comes to growth in salaries for vacant positions.

The average salary in Melbourne is $77,995, which is marginally higher than the state average.

Industries leading overall salary growth in Victoria include farming, animal and conservation, insurance, superannuation, and customer service.

New projects in store for the state include healthcare projects like the $73 million investment to increase capacity at La Trobe Regional Hospital, and infrastructure plans such as the Regional Rail Link and the Cranbourne-Pakenham Rail Corridor Project.

Get the skills to work in:

  • Agriculture: Gain the skill set to manage all aspects of the agriculture industry from pastures and resources to people and budgets.
  • Conservation & Land Management: Study a Diploma of Conservation and Land Management to boost your career as a natural resource manager, ranger, or bush regenerator.

Western Australia

Salaries in Western Australia are still well above the national average, and the mining and gas sectors still boast the best earning potential in the country.

The industries leading salary growth in the state include retail, consumer products, banking, financial services, real estate and property.

Aside from the mining and gas sectors, one of the industries that shows the greatest salary rises is agriculture. This follows a $15.5 million investment from the Government of Western Australia to fund water for food projects, which will boost employment as well as salary potential.

“Candidates should feel more confident about job prospects. Over the period of July 2013 to July 2014, Western Australia has experienced a 2.7% increase in new job ads year-on-year,” says Powell.

Get the skills to work in:

  • Real Estate: Become a real estate sales agent, a property valuer, or even a body corporate manager with these versatile training options.
  • Financial Services: Study a course in accounting, financial services and business.

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