This is our 2013 report. To view the 2014 report please click here.

Much has been said over the last decade about tradies being amongst the highest earners in Australia.

A lot of this has come about due to the resources boom which has run over the same period of time, where tradies have been reported to be earning salaries well into the six figures.

Average annual tradesman income compared to the national average.

Here at Trade Risk we see the income figures of thousands of tradies every year, and recently we delved into those figures to see what we could find.

About the Figures

Before we start looking at the actual numbers we need to preface them with some important information.

First and foremost, the majority of tradies we deal with are self-employed, with many of these being subcontractors and sole traders.

The means that our figures are more representative of the average building industry tradie rather than those working on the mines, who are often employed on salary and don’t require their own insurance.

To keep the figures more relevant we have excluded all results where the turnover is less than $30,000 per year. Tradies turning over less than this amount are almost certainly operating part-time, often as a side business to their main employment.

Average Tradie Income

Our figures show that the average income for a tradesman in Australia is just under $69,000 per annum, which is reasonably close to the overall Australian average of $72,800.

On this basis it would have to be said that the average tradie earns slightly less than a typical full time worker, but it’s important to remember that very few of the tradies we deal with are working in the mining industry.

If we were to add in the figures for tradies working in the resources industry it is likely that the averages would be reversed.

It’s also worth looking at the median figures in addition to the average figures, as these are arguably more relevant when it comes to income.

Average income calculations include CEOs and other highly paid workers, and their multi-million dollar salaries can distort the figures to the point where the ‘average income’ is not really typical of the average Australian worker.

Looking at the median income figures we have tradesmen at $65,000 per annum, whilst the most recent median figures we can find for workers Australia-wide is $57,400.

Based on median incomes, tradies are clear winners ahead of the typical full-time worker.

Which Tradies Earn The Most?

We were also able to dissect the income figures to show us which trades in Australia attracted the highest average incomes.

Boilermakers came in at number one with an average income of $90,200 per annum, followed by electricians at $82,000 and plumbers at $74,800 per annum.

The top ten are as follows:

Average income figures for each different trade.

Although being a handyman isn’t considered a trade as such, they are still considered by most people to fall within the tradie category.

There were a number of trades with high averages such as riggers and refrigeration mechanics, however it was decided that the number of entries for these trades were too low to be statistically accurate.

Income Bands

Looking at the averages is one thing, but as we know averages can be skewed by low figures at the bottom end and high figures at the top end.

To combat this we’ve sliced the figures into separate income bands to see where the majority of tradies fit.

Income bands showing how much tradies earn.

We found that the largest group of tradies are sitting in the $50,000 to $75,000 range (39%), with many sitting either side in the $0 – $50,000 range (31%) and the $75,000 to $100,000 range (24%).

Moving into six-figure territory, our figures showed around 5% of tradies are in the $100,000 – $150,000 range and just over 1% are earning more than $150,000 per annum.


So what can we take away from these figures?

Well for starters if you’re considering a trade you’d be well advised to look at boilermaking. It is a tough job, but it is the highest paid of all the trades we looked at.

The figures also show that the average building industry tradesman isn’t earning a huge salary like some media outlets would have you believe.

Overall tradies are earning slightly below the national average, but a number of common trades such as electricians and plumbers are enjoying incomes above the national average.

Despite the overall average for tradies being lower, our research found that over half (53%) of tradies earn more than the national average of $72,800 per annum.

So even though a typical tradie will earn below the national average, they have a better than 50/50 chance of earning more if they choose the right trade and work hard.


We do not claim that these figures are 100% accurate and that they reflect the incomes of every single tradesman in Australia.

The figures are based on information gathered from over 2,000 tradies over a two year period, which we believe gives a pretty good picture of the average incomes earned by tradies.