Australia’s 50 highest paying jobs are paying men significantly more Featured

Just weeks away from welcoming in the year 2017 and it’s still a man’s world when it comes to leading the world’s largest organisations.

It’s also a man’s world when it comes to working in the highest paying jobs, with men taking home hundreds of thousands of dollars more compared to their female counterparts in the same role.

Two separate studies recently released show the extent of the problem.

The first is PwC’s CEO Succession study of the 2015 calendar year, finding just 3% of CEO appointments at the world’s 2500 largest organisations went to women. Here Australia is doing reasonable well, with 9% of such appointments going to women – although that’s not going to be enough to improve on the just 10 women leading ASX 200 organisations. In 2015, just three women were appointed to lead ASX 200 organisations, Georgette Nicholas from Genworth Mortgage Insurance, Deborah Thomas from Ardent Leisure Group, and Courtney Petersen at Shine Corporate (which falls short of the ASX 200 in 2016).

The second study comes from Australian Tax Data, and reveals the fifty highest paying jobs, according to gender. It highlights some significant pay gaps in men and women working in the same occupations. For example, a male neurosurgeon (the highest paying job in the country) earns a massive $577,674 a year, compared with women in the same role who take home just $323,682, a good 44 per cent less.

Indeed, the entire list (see below) makes for some miserable reading on the gender pay gap – which the ABS and WGEA reports as being at 16.2%, and which actually seems small when you consider gaps across jobs that bring in more than one hundred thousand dollars a year. 

Most of the highest paying roles for men are in medicine, with an Ophthalmologist taking home $552,947, a cardiologist taking home $453,253, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon taking home $448,530 and a gynaecologist/obstetrician taking home $446,507.

The first non-medical role is a judge in the 13th spot, with male judges taking home $381,323 a year.

For women, being a judge is currently the highest paid occupation, still taking home less than men but with $355,844 it tops the list, followed by neurosurgeons (on $323,682), plastic and reconstructive surgeons (on $281,698) and interestingly, futures traders, on $281,699.

One big surprise on the list is that female gynaecologists/obstetricians take home significantly less than men in the role, an average of $264,628 compared with men on almost half a million. You'd think this would be one area where women can charge more for their services. 

Meanwhile, a male member of parliament takes home $232,063, significantly higher again than female members of parliament, on just $173,331.

See the highest-paying occupations according to gender below. 

Australia’s 50 highest paying jobs:

Men 

  1. Neurosurgeon $577,674
  2. Ophthalmologist $552,947
  3. Cardiologist $453,253
  4. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon $448,530
  5. Gynaecologist; Obstetrician $446,507
  6. Otorhinolaryngologist $445,939
  7. Orthopedic surgeon $439,629
  8. Urologist $433,792
  9. Vascular surgeon $417,524
  10. Gastroenterologist $415,192
  11. Diagnostic and interventional radiologist $386,003
  12. Dermatologist $383,880
  13. Judge — law $381,323
  14. Anaesthetist $370,492
  15. Cardiothoracic surgeon $358,043
  16. Surgeon — general $357,996
  17. Specialist physicians — other $344,860
  18. Radiation oncologist $336,994
  19. Medical oncologist $322,178
  20. Securities and finance dealer $320,452
  21. Thoracic medicine specialist $315,444
  22. Specialist physician — general medicine $315,114
  23. Intensive care specialist $308,033
  24. Renal medicine specialist $298,681
  25. Neurologist $298,543
  26. Financial investment manager $288,790
  27. Investment broker $286,530
  28. Paediatric surgeon $282,508
  29. Clinical haematologist $271,738
  30. Futures trader $264,830
  31. Endocrinologist $258,972
  32. Cricketer $257,527
  33. Rheumatologist $256,933
  34. Dental specialist $253,442
  35. Magistrate $246,737
  36. Equities analyst; Investment dealer $245,826
  37. Paediatrician $239,405
  38. Stock exchange dealer; Stockbroker $238,192
  39. Psychiatrist $234,557
  40. Emergency medicine specialist $232,595
  41. Member of Parliament $232,093
  42. Pathologist $224,378
  43. Company secretary — corporate governance $218,432
  44. State governor $212,652
  45. Actuary $196,144
  46. Sports physician $187,468
  47. Petroleum engineer $185,808
  48. Chief executive officer; Executive director; Managing director; Public servant — secretary or
  49. Deputy secretary $181,849
  50. Mining production manager $179,439

Women

  1. Judge — law $355,844
  2. Neurosurgeon $323,682
  3. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon $281,608
  4. Futures trader $281,600
  5. Vascular surgeon $271,529
  6. Gynaecologist; Obstetrician $264,628
  7. Gastroenterologist $260,925
  8. Magistrate $260,161
  9. Anaesthetist $243,582
  10. Ophthalmologist $217,242
  11. Cardiologist $215,920
  12. Urologist $213,094
  13. Surgeon — general $210,796
  14. Medical oncologist $208,612
  15. Specialist physicians — other $207,599 / Specialist physician — general medicine $207,225
  16. Otorhinolaryngologist $200,136
  17. Dermatologist $195,030
  18. Diagnostic and interventional radiologist $180,695
  19. Cardiothoracic surgeon $175,500
  20. Paediatric surgeon $175,314
  21. Endocrinologist $174,542
  22. Member of Parliament $173,331
  23. Rheumatologist $169,409
  24. Intensive care specialist $169,369
  25. Emergency medicine specialist $165,786
  26. Orthopedic surgeon $159,479
  27. Neurologist $155,217
  28. Renal medicine specialist $155,133
  29. Psychiatrist $152,437
  30. Clinical haematologist $147,970
  31. Paediatrician $147,347
  32. Securities and finance dealer $145,208
  33. Dental specialist $140,505
  34. Actuary $136,819
  35. Radiation oncologist $135,678
  36. Financial investment manager $134,481
  37. Petroleum engineer $133,315
  38. Mining production manager $133,061
  39. General medical practitioner $129,834
  40. Thoracic medicine specialist $127,645
  41. Stockbroker $124,433
  42. Paving plant operator $123,281
  43. Mining engineer $119,564
  44. Tribunal member $119,219
  45. Occupational medicine specialist; Public health physician; Sports physician $118,310
  46. Geophysicist $117,575
  47. General medical practitioner $184,639
  48. Chief executive officer; Executive director; Managing director; Public servant — secretary or Deputy Secretary $116,855
  49. Metallurgist $110,359
  50. Engineering manager $116,732
Angela Priestley

Angela Priestley is the Publisher and founding editor of Women's Agenda. She's an author, journalist and passionate advocate for workplace gender equality and diversity. Her first book is Women Who Seize the Moment.

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