Author: James Menzies | Last Updated: 3 Jan 2021
When one is contemplating which trade to pursue as a career, the key consideration will likely be how much money there is to be made is. ‘Sparkies’ (as electricians have long been nicknamed in Australia) are at the top of this list in comparison to other tradesmen. In Australia, to become an electrician you must undertake an apprenticeship which takes four years to complete and, as part of which, you’ll learn on the job and be paid a low wage for doing so. Once qualified though is when there is real money to be made in this trade.
Government stats show that Australian electricians make an average annual salary of $82,875 per year or $42.50 per hour when employed by others. Entry level roles start at $61,078 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $129,119 annually. This is not only above what other tradespersons make but higher than the average wage also for all other non-trade professions.
For more experienced electricians that branch out into self-employment, the money they can expect to make increases significantly. They charge for their services per hour at rates varying from $80 to $130 per hour. The hourly rates quoted here depend on several factors including the type of work being undertaken, and the State within Australia where the work is being done.
There are many different electrician specialisations in which, equipped with the relevant knowhow, one can be even more well paid. One example is industrial electricians (that install, test, troubleshoot and repair electrical equipment), while a second is maintenance electricians (that make sure electrical equipment is always running correct). Those highly skilled and experienced in specialisations such as these and working in large manufacturing or mining environments can demand remuneration in excess of the almost $130,000 per annum abovementioned.
Australian Department of Employment data shows that employment for electricians increased strongly by percentage in the past five years and even more so across the past decade. There were more than 50,000 new electrotechnology jobs created and filled over the five years to November 2019 and, in the future, strong growth in employment for workers is expected to continue.
A key advantage that electricians have over some other tradespeople (such as plumbers or mechanics) is that their work is generally both less physically demanding and cleaner. This becomes even more true for electricians employed in industrial and/or commercial environments, where the work is significantly less hard than that in residential electrical work. A second benefit of being an electrician is the scope for variety in their work. An experienced electrician can work in any number of fields performing many different tasks including general power and lighting installations, right through to data communications installation and testing. A third advantage is that Australian electricians are regarded as the best trained in the world so, for those wishing to travel and work, getting a job overseas is very possible.