Cost of Living in Australia: Salaries Compared

In a previous post about the cost of living in Australia, one of my readers, Shawn, suggested that the true cost of living could only be calculated after comparing average wages between the two countries.

This was a very valid point and one I am going to address today. Once again, apologies to any of my readers who are not from the UK, but I hope you can at least use the information about Australian average salaries to compare them to those currently available where you live.

If you want to check out other occupations for yourself, the full list is available here for the Australian salaries (see update 2 at the bottom of the page) and here for the UK incomes list.

Please note that I have added 6% to all UK incomes as the figures available to me were from November 2007. I think that is more than generous.

The Australian incomes were taken from an employment website and based on data from advertised jobs and claims, therefore, to be current.

Here is what I found:

salariesI tried to be random in selecting occupations to compare, my “system” revolved purely around trying to find occupations that sounded exactly the same by their description. But there was one occupation I removed from the list which I will declare here:

Estate Agents were listed as having an average salary of $125,427 in Australia & just £29,544 in the UK. The Australian one was described as “Property and Real Estate, Residential Sales”, whereas the UK one was listed as “Estate agents and auctioneers”. To me they looked like the same occupation but the salary difference was huge. So I removed it. My guess was the Australian one was based on achieving some kind of massive sales target to get the extra commission.

Despite that, with the pound tumbling faster than a drunkard falling down a downward moving escalator, the differences between the two countries for average salaries is currently huge.

First I took the £315,649 and multiplied it by the current exchange rate of 1.866 AUD/GBP. So, if you did all 10 of these jobs in the UK you would have earned £589,190.42. That’s a staggering $142,760.58 LESS than you would have earned here in Australia.

On those figures, Australian salaries are 24% higher than those of the UK.

It is probably a more accurate figure to look at the average salaries across all occupations which are listed as a $62,270 in Australia according to The Australian Bureau of Statistics and £25,331 according to Government Statistic UK.

So £25,331 times 1.866 for the exchange rate becomes $47,267. So that’s $15,003 less than the Australian average and that suggests that the average Australian wage is in fact 31.7% higher than in England.

I never claim that my “cost of living in Australia” comparisons are the yardstick by which you should base all of your migratory decisions, they are more of a “no smoke without fire” guide.

But I think we can safely conclude from the above exercise that salaries and wages here in Australia are greater than those in the UK.

I have not been surprised by these findings, I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I believed wages were high here, I know, I tried to get a gardener. I ended up going to Bunnings, buying the gear and doing it myself!

But with these findings I think we can now all agree that if something appears to cost the same or cheaper here in Australia, it really is.

Update:

This post has needed updating for a while, I’m pleased to say I have now done it. Check out the new version at:

Update 2:

Originally I got my Australian salaries from mycareer.com but they have since been taken over by Adzuna. To find out how you can search for and find average salaries in many countries for all kinds of occupations, please check out my latest post on the subject…

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{ 106 comments… add one }
  • Sheen February 14, 2016, 6:33 pm | Link

    This was done in 2009… Please Bob, as some1 who lives in Australia and works in IT User Support we do not earn that sort of money even today. It is more like 50k – 55k BEFORE tax if you are lucky. There are some places that pay even less. Where did you get your figures back in 2009? It is some 7 years later and we are only nudging the figures you have reported we earn. There are differences between 1st level and 2nd level support, but if you are talking 2nd level you need to note that and not potentially mislead people.

    • BobinOz February 15, 2016, 5:28 pm | Link

      I’m not sure why you are asking me where I got my figures from, my sources have been quoted throughout the article. They are trusted sources as well, very well known websites, I’m sure there figures would have been correct at the time.

      I have also updated this information twice, in 2012 and 2015, the links to those posts are also included above.

      Instead of complaining to me that I’m misleading people, I suggest you click through on those sources links to find out exactly what kind of IT job gets this sort of salary.

  • Cheshire Plasterers February 10, 2016, 8:38 am | Link

    It would be interesting to know what plasterers earn over there 😀

    • BobinOz February 10, 2016, 6:22 pm | Link

      If you go to my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and look underneath the heading “How much money can I earn in Australia?” There is a link to a website where you can look up the current average weekly earnings (before tax) of hundreds of different kinds of jobs.

      I had a quick look at plasterers using that link, they reckon $1000 a week as at August 2013.

      Is that good or bad?

  • Alpesh Patel November 25, 2015, 4:44 pm | Link

    Hi bob
    I want to come to Australia as soon as possible in students visa.
    give me some advise about study and working condition of Perth, Sydney, Brisbane,
    Adelaide, malbourne etc. Give me suggestion which place is good for mechanical engineer for study as well as working purpose.

    • BobinOz December 1, 2015, 7:20 pm | Link

      Please check out my page about Student Visas and follow the instructions, my expert should be able to help you.

  • suss July 12, 2015, 3:46 am | Link

    Hi Bob

    Ive been reading some of ur articles about comparing UK and OZ

    Im from Denmark lived there for about 9 years with my parents and siblings and relatives
    however i didnt like Denmark because of no much opportunities, alot of racism , bad financially and very very bad weather

    I moved to OZ after marrying and i fell in love with OZ but after spending 8 years here i havee been thinking of moving to UK because its closer to Denmark and i will be able to see my family more often and also because the UK is alot more multicultural than DDenmark. The reason why i dont wanna stay here is because i feel extremly lonely. I used to live around my family, uncles , aunties , cousins .. and i always think about the future that i will end up living alone when i get old. Im just too scared of any decision.. staying or moving… everyone tells me that OZ is the best place in the world to live.. and that its also good financially .. but im worried and i have anxiety and stress and expression when i think of all of this. I literally cant do anything in my life because of this… because i just dint know if im staying or leaving.. cant decide if i should buy a house here or move or open a business here or move… im not the type who can adapt easily when i move to another place so if i make a wrong decision ill be turned off to move back..and might just stay there even if its the wrong place for us… i know its a bit tough financially to live in Europe but i always think as long as my children get to see their grandparents and family that will compensate.. i have danish citizen so moving to UK shouldnt be a problem and i also have hairdressing qualification and now doing diploma in childcare which i believe can help me in getting employment if i move to UK … i also see things this way that the UK is close to Denmark but also to many other places where its extremely affortable to visit… so if i find it a bit boring over there i can always go on holiday few times a year without having ti spend thousands of dollars since the flight tickets are far more cheaper than OZ. Another thing that makes me choose not to stay here is that my husband is extremely unsocial so he spends most of his life at home not seeing anyone and that just makes me more lonely. So if i move to Uk at least ill see my family few times a year.

    Im over over over thinking
    I just wanna go and end the worry but im afraid ill regret it … as u all know Australias law is also always changing and whatever opportunities are available now might not be available in 1 years time such as buying a house.. i got the opportunity to get a loan and buy a house because the interests are low now and the area im living in is going develop and increase in house prices so if i dont buy very soon house prices will probably be double.

    8 years in this confusion can u believe it
    My husband has left the decisions to me which makes me more confused and scared of all the responsibility that comes out of it

    • BobinOz July 12, 2015, 9:08 pm | Link

      I’m not really convinced moving to the UK will solve your problem. Yes, you’d be able to grab two or three holidays a year in Denmark and they certainly won’t cost as much, but you’ll probably end up spending the other 49 weeks of the year being miserable in the UK.

      Sounds to me what you really need to do is move back to Denmark to be close to your family. Only you can decide on this one, good luck though, I hope it works out.

  • brad March 23, 2015, 8:32 pm | Link

    hi bob,
    i am moving to australia soon from lincolnshire as a electrician.i will be moving on my own and have seen alot of jobs in the adelaide area with a hourly rate of $37. i worked out for a 40 hour week i will have a income of $1,132 (after tax). my question is do you think i will live okay on that wage bearning in mind i have no kids or a wife/girlfriend to pay for it will be just me and my dog haha. thanks brad

    • BobinOz March 24, 2015, 4:50 pm | Link

      Yes, I reckon you’ll get by, much depends though on the cost of your accommodation. Check out my page called How much do you need? for more information.

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • brad4 March 25, 2015, 2:35 am | Link

        hi thanks for the reply and what about in the brisbane area would i live okay there? and i was planning to get a house to rent before i arrive in oz would this be possible or would i have to be in oz before i can get a rental house/apartment?

        thanks,brad

        • BobinOz March 26, 2015, 12:18 am | Link

          No, you won’t be able to rent anywhere until you get here, you need to personally inspect the property and speak to the agents or the owner to secure a rental. You have enough money to live okay as long as you keep within your budget.

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