Show me the money: the highest surgeons’ salary in Australia


Article by Rachael Walsh02 Mar 2020
Surgeon - What does a surgeon make

A surgeon’s salary is amongst the highest for doctor jobs in Australia.

According to the Australian Taxation Office’s latest figures, surgeons have the highest national taxable salary, hauling in an average of $394,866. This makes them the best paid in Australia (and in the medical profession). Anaesthetists are a close second at $367,343.

Roles in the medical profession are well-remunerated and some physicians working in private practice can earn as much as $600,000 per year. Compare this to the national average taxable income of $59,014 – a surgeon’s salary is on average six times more and most doctors are in the top ten percent of earners in the country.

Where’s the highest surgeon’s salary? 

There are many factors affecting how much you’ll get paid as a surgeon: salary packaging, hours worked, qualifications and experience, to name just a few. Surgeons working in major metropolitan areas can be among the highest earners, but there’s generous salaries on offer to tempt surgeons into more rural areas too.

Average salary for surgeons by state 

  • Western Australia – $475,058
  • Northern Territory – $449,330
  • Tasmania – $431,322
  • Queensland – $427,543
  • Victoria – $368,863
  • South Australia – $363,964
  • Australian Capital Territory – $331,793
  • New South Wales – $304,398

When individual specialties are considered, it’s neurosurgeons who come out on top. They have the highest average doctor salary, with annual pay ranging from $60,000 to more than $500,000.

Orthopaedic surgeons are hot on the heels of neurosurgeons with an average salary of $240,000 per year. Mid-career orthopaedic surgeons (5-9 years’ experience) can expect to earn around $225,000 and top earners receive an average total compensation of $450,000 (late-career, 20+ years’ experience).

Cardiothoracic surgeons are also top earners, with a median annual salary of around $206,000.

Doctors working in Australia can expect to be well-remunerated for their work. Locum doctors can up to $2,500 a day and quality of life ranks highly.

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Rachael Walsh
Article by Rachael WalshMedrecruit Editor
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