The Highest Paying Trades in Australia: Why Construction is Still a Lucrative Industry

We’re halfway through 2023, and while tradies face challenges like fluctuating material costs and supply issues, the Australian construction industry is holding up well. Despite the doomsday headlines, there’s still plenty of demand and opportunity for those looking to get into the industry.

Trade Industry Still Growing Despite Challenges

Although there are some current challenges, the construction sector in Australia is expected to grow by 6.4%, reaching $172 million in 2023 and continue its steady growth into the medium and long term. While residential approvals have declined, commercial real estate development is on the rise, and both state and federal governments are investing in infrastructure and pushing for greener buildings and climate targets.

According to industry reports, the construction industry currently employs approximately 1.32 million people and has grown by 146,200 (or 12.4%) over the past year. Employment in construction is projected to grow by 66,400 (or 5.8%) over the five years to November 2026.

Employment levels, past and projected, Construction

Employment levels, past and projected, Construction chart

Source: ABS

The number of construction businesses also continues to grow, and there are currently 425,600 construction businesses in Australia. They are the largest employer of tradespeople and apprentices in the small business sector.

High-Demand Trades and Hot Market = Skills Shortage

Even before the pandemic, Australia was facing a shortage of skilled workers to meet the industry’s demands for the next decade. The 2022 Arcadis Construction Costs Index Report shows that construction vacancies have risen by 80% since late 2019.

This means that if you are already a tradie, or are close to finishing an apprenticeship or training, you are in high demand, as all trades remain highly sought-after for construction projects across the country.

 High-Paying Trades: Average Salaries and Outlook

Ever wondered what the national average tradie salary is? According to the ABS, the average weekly salary in the construction industry is $1786. While salaries vary depending on your qualifications, experience and training, almost 1 in 10 tradies make more than $200,000 a year, mostly those running their own business.

We’ve pulled together the top 8 highest-paying trades with the best earning potential and demand outlook.

1 – Construction or site manager $134,000 (Strong)
2 – Electrician $89,000 (Moderate)
3 – Boilermaker $87,000 (Strong)
4 – Rigger $86,000 (Very Strong)
5 – Air conditioning technician $83,000 (Moderate)
6 – Plumbers $78,000 (Strong)
7 – Carpenter $77,000 (Strong)
8 – Wall and Floor Tilers $65,000 (Strong) 


Check out Your Career to learn more about the short courses, certificates and diplomas you can do to get started and to find a registered training organisation.

Want to maximise your returns from your trade?

Tradies Are Embracing Innovation and Have High Job Satisfaction

Tradespeople are part of a growing and innovative industry. With the move towards greener homes and buildings, new and exciting techniques are being pioneered, and more technology is being used across all trades. Everything from drones to 3D Printing, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are becoming more common on building sites.

Not only that, but research shows that tradies are also happier! A study of young people found those working in trades had better job satisfaction and were richer than their university-attending peers. The opportunity to earn and learn at the same time through an apprenticeship is one of the main reasons cited for this.

4 Tips for Starting Your Successful Tradie Business

Being your own boss can be exciting and daunting. But getting the right support and guidance at the start sets your business up for success.

  1. Decide whether you want to be a sole trader or company. Not sure which option is right for your own business? You can read about our article on “Pros and cons of company registration vs ABN sole trader“. If you’re thinking about becoming a sole trader, you should read our article on “Sole trader tax rate: This is how much you’re going to pay
  2. Understand your legal requirements, including taxes, permits and licenses. Sleek can help you set up your business accounting to be compliant from day one. If you’re looking for sole trader accounting solutions, Sleek can help with that too.
  3. Sort out your insurance. This protects you and your clients. Consider liability insurance, tool insurance and public liability insurance.
  4. Get your first client and issue an invoice. Having an accountant you can rely on will help you keep your business finances on track and set you up to grow.

Starting your own business can spark up many questions like, “How to pay yourself as a company director?“, “What’s the tax free threshold in Australia?“, “How do I get started on company registration in Australia?“. Maybe you’re a sole trader wondering “Do I need an ABN as a sole trader?” Don’t fret, Sleek has got your back. We have created articles to answer your burning questions!

Sleek is here to help you make good by taking care of the pesky financial paperwork that comes with running your own show. Our no-frills, hassle-free service means you can spend more time focusing on your trade, or taking that early mark.

Let us help you build your tradie business one brick at a time. Start by filling out the contact form below.

Start a business in less than 3 hours with us. Talk to our experts today.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and may not be specifically relevant to everyone’s personal situation. It should not be considered financial advice or a substitute for professional tax or accounting advice. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and laws can vary. For tailored advice, please consult a qualified professional. Contact Sleek for further information on how we can help you.

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