happy plumber at work

The Highest Paying Trades in Australia Today

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Are you building your career as a tradesperson or simply looking for a tradie gig to supplement your income? You are in luck, mate! You live in a country where tradies are not only considered the backbone of the country but are also earning more than the average Australian salary. There are many popular trades in Australia and you may be wondering which one pays the most.

According to ServiceSeeking.com.au, the highest paid tradies and their reported yearly incomes include:

    • Plumber, $110,000
    • Concreter, $107,500
    • Builder, $103,750
    • Flooring company tradesperson, $103,125
    • Carpenter, $102,424
    • Earthworks contractor, $94,167
    • Bricklayer, $92,500
    • Building designer, $91,111
    • Air conditioning and heating technician, $90,455
    • Lighting installer, $90,000

Plumbing

Plumbing involves the installation and maintenance of systems used for potable water, sewage and drainage. In Australia, it is highly lucrative because of the booming housing market. While negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, tradies continue to secure jobs simply because household leaks, like dripping faucet or showerhead, are common.

So rewarding is the plumbing business that it has attracted not just blue-collar workers but also professionals to shift career, like banker Alex Taskun who left his $90,000 job to start his own plumbing business, GT Plumbing:

"In a month, you're looking at making anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, and of that, you'd probably get 20 per cent. I make between $3000 and $12,000 per week profit after all expenses are paid."

While making around $1 million a year, Taskun also pays his top tier staff up to $720 a day while his entry-level staff get paid up to $450 a day.

How to get started:

Aside from adequate training, plumbers are required to have a license in Australia. You also need to be licensed in the state that you are performing the work because there is not one governmental licensing body for all trade. Hence, if you’re licensed to do plumbing work in QLD, you still need to apply for a license if you want to work in NSW.

Because it can take some time in order to apply for your license, it is common for many foreign-trained plumbers to work as a trade assistant for a plumbing or construction company. A trade assistant assists qualified tradesmen and are not qualified for the role.

Construction

Concreters and builders come next to plumbers in earnings, making an average of $107,500 and $103,750 respectively. Meanwhile, company floor fitters rank fourth with an average yearly income of $103,125, followed by carpenters with $102,424, bricklayers with $92,500, and building designers in the eighth spot with $91,111.

All of these tradies play crucial roles in construction:

  • The concreters are in-charge of the mixing, laying, spreading, compacting, and finishing concrete for building and construction purpose.
  • Builders manage and co-ordinate home building or renovation projects. These days, they do not do actual building work themselves. They take the homeowners’ plans and specifications or produce them for the homeowners and turn their dream home into a reality. They also manage the purchase and delivery of materials and co-ordinate the work of tradespeople such as plumbers, painters and carpenters who are involved in the project.
  • Floor installers are tasked with the installation of the material that covers the floor in a building, like blocks, tiles, strips; or sheets of shock-absorbing, sound-deadening, or decorative coverings to floors. They also sweep, scrape, sand, or chip dirt and irregularities to clean base surfaces, correcting imperfections that may show through the covering.
  • Armed with a hammer and saw, carpenters do the actual building and repair of things made from wood. They work with timber in order to construct and maintain buildings, furniture and other objects. Carpenters who are involved in construction usually do:
    • rough carpentry - all work that doesn't require a neat finish as it will be covered up by walls or other items, such as erecting beams, posts and rafters
    • finish carpentry - all carpentry work that will be visible once a building has been completed, like decking, flooring, building staircases, installing windows and doors, erecting pergolas or other structures, and installing trim and moulding
    • formwork carpentry - erecting and dismantling the formwork that is needed for the pouring of concrete
  • Bricklayers build walls, houses, and other structures with bricks. They also work with blocks made from various materials such as clay, concrete and stone.
  • Building designers are architects or draftsperson who are in charge of the planning, design and supervision of the construction of buildings. While architects are building designers who are board-certified, draftspeople usually acquired their skills from a trade school or learned and honed their skills through experience.

How to get started:

All of these tradies usually acquired their skills from a trade school or university, followed by on-the-job training and apprenticeship.

Builders are required to get a license in the state they work. There are also specific certifications for each role:

    • Concreters: Certificate III in Concreting
    • Builders: Certificate IV in Building and Construction
    • Floor installers: Certificate III in Flooring Technology
    • Carpenters: Certificate III in Carpentry or a Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery
    • Bricklayers: Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying
    • Building Designers: Certificate IV in Building Design Drafting

Additionally, anyone who works on a construction site in Australia is required to do construction induction training and get a "White Card" through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

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Earthwork

Earthwork contractors are in-demand in the country because of the large construction activities. These tradies are in charge of the land clearing, including terrain and building demolition; clearing the soil of underwater, soil excavation, and removal of debris and other trash out of the project site. They also perform trench constructing for drainage and cabling purposes, as well as underground excavation for subway and other pipe connecting purposes.

Proper planning and expertise are important to avoid soil erosion and construction site accidents during and after earthwork projects, and this is where the expertise and skills of earthwork contractors come in. The earthwork machinery is also expensive, which is why those who are starting out in this line of business take out a tradie loan or equipment financing. The investment, however, offers a great return because earthwork contractors are not only in-demand but are also highly paid with an average yearly income of $94,167.

How to get started:

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, You no longer need to hold an earthmoving or particular crane (EPC) certificate to operate the following types of equipment:

    • Front-end loader backhoe
    • Bridge and gantry (remote control) crane
    • Excavator
    • Front-end loader
    • Scraper
    • Road roller
    • Grader
    • Skid steer loader
    • Dozer

However, there are still regulations in place to determine who can operate earthwork machinery and under what conditions.

If you the earthwork contractor, you are responsible for the safe operation of equipment as the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). These include:

    • Providing the appropriate information, training, instruction and supervision before and during the operation of the equipment
    • Ensuring that the operator is authorised and competent in operating the machinery
    • Compliance to safe and proper equipment handling, maintenance, and repair requirements and its safety guidelines

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