Salary expectations: Australia’s highest paid industries

Employers and HR managers have all seen their ideal candidate walk out the door due to unmet salary expectations. It happens every day, yet it’s one of the least discussed, most frustrating aspects of talent sourcing.

Having access to industry data allows you to better understand market conditions and adjust your offers accordingly. As we all know, salaries don’t remain static and industry wages don’t always go up. Market conditions, oversupply of candidates and a variety of other factors can impact recruiting needs, and ultimately the salary packages an employer is prepared to offer. It is especially relevant to industries where job placement can be difficult.

Candidates have greater leverage in skill-short industries. They can cherry-pick job offers and negotiate better salaries. This is especially prevalent in the higher end of the job market ($150k+ annual salary), where specialist skills are often required. Knowing the market value of a given profession is a vital tool, and can mean the difference between placing your ideal candidate and seeing them take a position with a competitor.

This month, we explore changing salary expectations across the Australian job market in 2013. SEEK’s research over the past year has identified exactly where the money is being made, which industries are the most competitive and which roles job-seekers are most interested in.

Top 3 salary earners

Based on the results of our monthly SEEK Salary Snapshot, the industries with highest average annual salaries are:

  • Mining, resources and energy – this industry enjoyed the highest pay packet, earning an average $130,252 in 2013.

  • Engineering – engineering roles came in second, earning an average $109,904 in 2013.

  • Consulting and strategy – the third-highest earning industry in 2013, with an average salary of $109,832.

Top 5 highest salary growth industries

It’s not all about the top earners. A number of industries have experienced higher-than-average year-on-year growth in wages. They are:

  • Insurance and superannuation – up 6%.

  • Sports and recreation – up 6%.

  • Healthcare and medical – up 5%.

  • Retail and consumer products – up 4%.

  • Community services and development – up 4%.

Top 3 most sought-after industries

Certain industries receive more candidate interest than others. Our data shows that in 2013 the following positions have received the most applicants per job ad, so if you’re looking for candidates in any of these areas, you need to ensure you’ve optimised your recruitment process.

Most applicants per job ad in 2013

  • Administration and office support.

  • Retail and consumer products.

  • Call centre and customer service.

Most growth in applications (YoY)

  • Real estate and property – up 22%.

  • Community services and development – up 14%.

  • Healthcare and medical – up 13%.

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SEEK Insights & Resources

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in Australia, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people...

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