Which graduates careers pay the best?

We’ve compared graduate entry-level salaries by industry to bring you the definitive top 5 list for 2016
Erin Delaney
Team GradAustralia

When you start seeing those HECS repayments disappearing from your payslip, it’s enough to get you wondering how you can get the best bang for your expensive degree’s buck.

We’ve compiled the top 5 graduate starting salaries by sector so you can make a strategic move and earn yourself one less flatmate, or at least have a good reason to make your friend working in the top industry pay for brunch. Find out who to give the bill to as we count down the top 5 industries by graduate salary package:

#5. Engineering, R&D and manufacturing: $68,000

Graduates on the Job in Engineering - Honeywell Office

With an average entry-level package of $68,000, these engineers, scientists, and industrial designers are developing products that change the world — while they count all the gold change lying down the backs of their sofas.

#4. Law: $72,000

MinterEllison Office in Sydney

We all know the old trope about lawyers charging through the nose, so it makes sense that legal eagles are sitting pretty close to the top of our salary list at an average of $72,000. Graduate jobs at law firms are few and far between, but an offer from Allens or MinterEllison is manna from heaven when you’re looking at these kinds of big numbers after spending years as a student.

#3. Banking and financial services: $73,000

Graduate jobs in banking - Commonwealth Bank offices

It’s lucky the grads working in banking and financial services learn how to handle money for a living, seeing as they have so much of it right off the bat with an average package of $73,000.

Investment banking is known for paying the big bucks, but retail banking with the likes of CBA and NAB offers lucrative career paths for talented grads. Our survey suggests bonuses are a fairly typical part of the deal in this golden goose industry.

#2. Retail and consumer goods: $74,000

Graduate jobs in retail and the consumer goods sector

These big earners don’t need to save for long to buy the next big thing their competitors have made, starting out at an average $74,000 for their expertise. Companies like ALDI are paying top dollar to attract talented candidates, which makes for a higher industry average across the board.

#1. Mining, oil and gas: $86,000!

Graduate on the job with BP in Perth

The grads in the mining, oil and gas sector are the big winners in the graduate sector, earning a whopping average starting salary of $86,000! If you want to get in on the boom, graduate jobs in Perth are a great place to start.

While the saying goes that all men (and women) are equal, not all industries are equal — at least not when it comes to the graduate salaries your degree can buy.