Business Growth

The Highest Paid Trades in Australia and How You Can Earn More

Why the Trades?

There are many reasons people pursue the trade sector. You might like to work hands-on, building, fixing, and repairing. Figuring out problems with concrete solutions, the satisfaction of completing a challenging project. Pursuing a passion, honing your skills, and becoming a master in your craft.

And, of course, money. It feels good to get a job done and even better when you're paid well for it. We have a robust trade sector here in Australia, and it's not a secret that if someone wants a solid, high-paying career, trades are one of the best bets.

With plenty of trades to choose from and countless specialisations, there's lots of flexibility in finding the right trade for you.

If you're considering a career that teaches you lifelong skills, satisfying work and reliable pay, the trades could be for you!

What makes the pay?

The highest-paid trades in Australia are varied across the sector, so it can be hard to tell why they’re at the top. Several factors go into determining overall pay, and these can change over time, too. The highest paid this year might not be the highest next year, so it doesn’t need to be your decider on the trade you want to pursue.

We’ll go over some of the factors, what they mean for trade salaries and the Top 5 highest paid trades in Australia.


All trades are in demand but some more so than others. Demand can often be the deciding factor in salaries and rates, and the current highest paid trades in Australia are the ones with the greater demand for workers.

The market shifts over time, so no one can predict who will always be at the top, but essential trades such as plumbing, HVAC and electrical will always have lots of demand.


This ties in with the above. Different locations have different demands and markets, so your pay in one town or suburb might change if you go to the next!

The highest paid trades are determined by averages across the sector, but keep in mind that location can affect your salary.

Training and Experience

This is a major factor in salaries. The difference that levels of training and education make can equal tens of thousands of dollars a year as tradespeople graduate from apprentices to journeymen and onwards.

Your certifications, job experience and specialised skills will all contribute to your salary.


Some trades are more dangerous than others. It's as simple as that, and if a trade is considered less safe overall, more needs to go into safety equipment, training and procedures.

The risk carries a higher premium as well, and sometimes accidents can cause major harm. Trades such as electrical, carpentry and painting (constant ladder work) consider risk when settling on award rates.

The Top Five

Using several sources, we’ve put together a list of the Top 5 highest paid trades in Australia. As mentioned above, this is based on average weekly and yearly salaries. These pay rates are decided from the combination of factors above so the list may change over time.

HVAC Technician

Since the pandemic, there's been no question about the necessity of proper ventilation systems in all buildings.

Tradies in HVAC take care of heating, cooling and ventilation systems with installation, maintenance and upkeep. At the time of writing, this trade is the highest paid trade in Australia, with an average salary above $120,000.


Unsurprisingly, sparkies are in Australia's top 5 highest paid trades. With everything in our modern lives depending on electricity, electricians are always in demand for installing and upkeep of electrical systems, equipment and devices.

The job can also be dangerous due to the nature of working with electricity, and the demand for emergency work means that pay rates stay high. AroFlo even has an article about the average electrician's salary in 2023, just to give you a look into how these factors work out.


Carpenters construct various things from wood, steel and plastic. They have a variety of specialisations, such as window fittings, cabinets and even foundations for buildings. The nature of the job requires precise work and attention to detail, as well as focus on longer projects.

As the number of construction projects continues to rise, carpenters are in greater demand.

Carpenters work with high-speed saws, industrial and other equipment that can make it a dangerous work environment.


Landscapers can work on both small and large-scale projects and work with residential and commercial buildings as well as public parks and gardens. They can cover everything from the initial design of a garden to completing it.

Landscaping can carry some risk due to the equipment used and requires a high level of physical fitness. 


Another trade in high demand thanks to the building boom.

Painters handle interior and exterior work for walls, fittings, vehicles and more. Painting requires precision and attention to detail, and as the work itself can take a long time to get right, jobs can take days or weeks to finish.

Painting can also be hazardous due to chemicals and sometimes risky job locations. 

Other Top Trades

So you’ve seen some of the reasons to ask for pay upfront and yeah, they’re very good reasons. In most cases, especially with new customers or big jobs, you’ll want to do it.

So how can you ask for pay upfront? We have a few tips to make it easier and smoother for both you and your customers.


Everyone needs a plumber at some point! Plumbers have a variety of specialisations that can take their careers in all sorts of directions.

With these skills come higher salaries and rates of pay, and plumbers are needed everywhere, so you can choose where you want to be.


These guys may not have been in the top 5, but that could easily change. Builders are in short supply everywhere, and higher demand pushes up pay.

Being a builder is a solid option for those who like hands-on work and teamwork.


Another trade in higher demand. As more houses go up, the climate stays unpredictable, and more homes need maintenance, roofers will be needed.

Roofers construct, maintain and repair roofs for houses and public and commercial buildings. It can be risky work, especially as roofers need a healthy relationship with heights and require good physical fitness.


Inspectors certify that buildings are safe for people to live and work in, so they require knowledge of various trades and keen attention to detail. They get hands-on as they often need to climb and crawl into spaces to ensure everything is where it should be.

Running Your Own Business

Even if you're in the highest paid trades in Australia, there's a limit to how much an employer will pay you or the hours you'll get. It's good to have a contract and steady wage, especially when you finally earn some decent cash at the beginning of your career.

Still, as you gain more experience and specialisations, you may want to go independent.

The great thing about the trades is you can start your own business, even as a one-person team. Australia has a strong tradie culture! There's plenty of competition and demand for skilled tradesmen in every sector.

If you're already in a trade, you might have considered starting your own business. A lot goes into it, and it can be overwhelming at times. Start with what you can do and go from there. Andy from Lifestyle Tradie answers some common questions and worries about starting your own business here.

For example, plenty of sparkies decide to get work vehicles and start their own business, which means they can decide their location and what kind of market they want to serve. If you're an electrician looking to do the same, our Wiring to Hiring guide has everything you need to start.

These things take time, but investing your time in your own business and projects will set you up for long-term success.

If you're ready to get your business dreams going, AroFlo has got you covered with our business guide. Your business starts when you're ready, and there's plenty of information and support out there to put you on the right road to success.

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