These are the 20 highest-paying jobs in Australia, according to the ATO

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  • Medical professions dominate the highest-paying jobs in Australia, making up 28 of the top 30 specific professions.
  • Anaesthetists are the highest paid group making a median income of $385,242 a year, while vascular surgeons are the highest-paid specific occupation on $441,000.
  • Looking at broader professions, engineering, financial and mining jobs all have a strong showing as well.

The numbers are in and your parents were right: you should have studied medicine. Well, at least if you cared about making money. Oh, and saving lives, of course.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released the official income stats from the 2017-18 financial year, revealing the top 20 occupations by median income, the middle income in the field.

Those cut from the medical cloth, unsurprisingly, claim many of the top spots. In the number one position, making more money than God himself, are anaesthetists on a median income of $385,242. It should be noted that means 50% of the profession actually make more than that every year.

Well behind them are your surgeons banking $320,186 before tax. A little behind them, and with a title sounding all too much like a surgeon’s job description, are the internal medicine specialists on $268,247.

Psychiatrists pocket $213,683 a year before the tax office even gets to the first non-medical occupation on the list. That would be mining engineers, raking in $156,126, followed closely by freewheeling financial dealers on $153,551.

Then the opaqueness of the ATO’s groupings is really hammered home as readers come across the seventh highest paid profession in the entire country in… ‘other medical practitioners’.

In knowing the ATO covers an exhaustive number of job titles, many of which are skewed towards the upper range of income earners, it’s curious to imagine what this motley crew get up to behind closed doors. After all, whatever it literally defies definition, at least as far as the tax office is concerned. But, I digress.

Bringing home $135,164 worth of bacon – or plant-based substitute – are engineering managers, followed by your garden variety air transport professionals on $126,959.

School principals take home $124,275 ahead of GPs on $122,350. Dentists finally get a run at $120,364 followed by drillers, miners or shot firers on $118,978. While initial enquiries reveal that a shot firer is one who blows things up for mining purposes, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone who ignites sambuca shooters deserves that kind of cash.

Train and tram drivers along with IT managers round out the $118K club, followed by economists on a little over 114 large.

The remainder of the list is dominated by an array of positions on around $112,000. From electrical and ‘non-specificed’ engineers to geologists and ‘power generation plant operators’, they round out the top 20 jobs.

While the ATO data is pretty good, it does show some shortcomings. Looking at specific occupations, as opposed to the wider occupation groupings above, vascular surgeons are actually the highest-paid Australians on $441,000.

In fact, the top 30 specific occupations are all medical, with just two exceptions. Tenth-placed magistrates make $282,130 while federal MPs are on around $252,000. The data also doesn’t include the three million people who didn’t fill in their occupation at all.

Who those people are and how much they make, we may never know.

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