Lucrative Tradesmen Jobs You Can Explore If You Want to Change Careers

March 9, 2017Diana Lengerson


There may come a time when you’ll find yourself becoming bored with your current career and even start questioning what the point is of being in that profession. Your job may feel like it’s the wrong one for you, and you might think that being in that career is really quite out of character for you. Conversely, it might feel like the routine is just getting old and you just want to do something new. If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind recently, it may be time to consider a career change.

Changing careers is rarely an easy decision. There are many questions that you should take into consideration: What new career should you take? Are any of your skills applicable to the new job? Does the job appeal to your interests? Does it pay well enough? And so on and so forth.

Thankfully, there are numerous options for people who are pondering on making the big shift. For starters, you may want to consider a trades job instead of a white collar one—a profession where you can apply skills that you may have learned either in past training sessions, as part of your hobby, or through self-directed learning. Additionally, with recognition of prior learning (RPL) you can have your existing skills, knowledge, and work experience officially recognised so you can gain the qualification you need for the new job much more quickly.

Top Earning Trades

Since income is one of the most important considerations when changing careers, it would be a good idea to know which tradesmen jobs are the most lucrative. Insurance company Trade Risk has released the 2016 edition of their popular annual report on the top earning trade jobs. The figures below are the average for their clients, who are largely sole traders or subcontractors.

Average income by trade:

  • Electrician – $85k
  • Boilermaker – $82k
  • Bricklayer – $82k
  • Tiler – $81k
  • Plasterer – $79k
  • Plumber – $79k
  • Cabinetmaker – $75k
  • Carpenter – $75k
  • Painter – $72k
  • Handyman – $68k

For the first time since Trade Risk has started doing this annual report, boilermakers have lost the top spot to the perennial runner-up, the electricians. And while plumbers have dropped from being third place in the list, it was not due to a reduction in their income but rather to the increase in the income of other trades. The specialist trade jobs bricklayer, tiler, and plasterer saw marked increases in their income levels, thus forcing plumbers down to the sixth spot.

However, Trade Risk noted that some trades were not included in their top ten list as the data they had for those trades were too low to be statistically accurate. The trades that were excluded from the report included refrigeration mechanics, air conditioning contractors, concreters, earthmovers, riggers, scaffolders, and stonemasons. While these trades could not be included in the report, they can still be very lucrative.

Doing Well in Trades

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a report which revealed that the average Australian salary is $78,900.  The Trade Risk report shows an average income of $76,800 for the different trades. However the ABS report does include a significant number of people who get paid astronomical salaries, thereby increasing the national average.

Some of the trades in the Trade Risk report have a higher average income than the inflated national average. Entering such trade jobs is therefore an excellent choice if you want to earn more than the national average.  Additionally, a lot of tradies have incomes in the 50k to 75k range. Depending on where you live, this can allow you to live very comfortably.

Becoming a tradesman is viable option when making a career change. Jobs in the trades can pay well, and the work can be very satisfying, especially if you go into a trade that is in line with your personal interests. One point that needs to be made is that—just like with any other profession—a tradesmen can earn well as long as they are able to work hard and work smart.


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