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20 and below – AUD 19,952 A Year
Almost 7% of Australia’s labour force is in this age group. They have the lowest earnings compared to any age bracket, which is probably because most people around this age are still in school or only getting initial workplace experience. Also, most jobs also available at this age are limited to part-time or training jobs, which puts a ceiling on the overall earning potential.
21 to 34 – AUD 58,635 A Year
Once people finish school and move into the working world, there’s a considerable jump in their average wage. Many emerging careers like IT or animation use plenty of people in this age group, and they pay reasonably well. Most social services (like social workers, teachers, and police) also start hiring around this age.
35 to 44 – AUD 78,192 A Year
Employees in this age range still have the same careers as the previous bracket. But they’re more likely to be in senior or managerial positions, where there is a sizeable bump in their average income. A lot of entrepreneurs also hit their stride around this age, stabilising their earning stream from being self-employed or running a business.
45 to 54 – AUD 80,298 A Year
This age group has the highest average income for two main reasons: company seniority, and workplace experience. Some of the highest-paying professions that require years of study (doctors, engineers, architects, nurses, and lawyers) peak at this age. If you've kept a steady career by this age, you’ll be in an excellent spot for early retirement.
55 years and above – AUD 71,416 A Year
There’s a dip in wages when you reach 55 and beyond because employers won’t hire older people for younger business (unless you have seniority or can keep up with the changes.) Most of the career options available are consulting or advisory jobs, which require less work than previous age brackets. What you should be aiming for at this point is to slowly make the transition into retirement – most aspects of workplace stress are already behind you, so enjoy it!
Why Should I Know All This?
Aside from a fun fact that you can share at dinner, here are other reasons knowing how much the average income at your age matters:
- Leverage: Let’s face it – not all of us are getting a fair cut with salary. If you feel you’re being underpaid for your age/career, having the numbers to back it up can be something you can use to negotiate with management.
- Goals: If you DO find that you aren’t making as much as you are, knowing the median income can help you set realistic expectations for earning. It can also help you plan a more comprehensive career strategy!
- Standard of living: Finally, knowing the median income for your age can also guide you into making your decisions for how you want to manage your long-term finances. If you know you’re getting higher than the usual income, there’s no harm in buying yourself something nice occasionally. If things are looking tight, maybe stave off on that Sydney to Melbourne pub crawl.
More Info, More Moolah
Regardless of median income, it’s essential to understand that your paycheck often comes down to how you are valued at your workplace. If you’re an irreplaceable aspect of the company, then you can afford to ask for a raise; but if you feel like a thousand other people could do your job, then maybe you should think about developing your skills.
At the end of the day, you can’t just expect to make what you’re supposed to be making without earning it. But knowing where you SHOULD be at salary-wise can help you plot where you WANT to be – and that can lead to a fruitful and fulfilling career.
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