Queensland’s top earning suburbs: See how you compare
Capital city workers typically out-earn their regional counterparts but Australia's new-found acceptance of remote work may be closing the gap.
Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the median full-time salary in Greater Brisbane was $1400 a week ($72,800 a year) compared to $1300 a week ($67,600 a year) across the rest of Queensland.
Demographer and social researcher Mark McCrindle said a trend of Australians moving away from capital cities could have an interesting affect on salaries.
ABS figures revealed Australia's capital cities had a net loss of 11,200 people in the September 2020 quarter from internal migration - the largest quarterly net loss on record.
Although Brisbane still had a net gain of 227 people relocating from the rest of Queensland, this was down from 1315 a year earlier.
"One of the great upsides of COVID has been this ability to decouple work from location and open up lifestyle possibilities we never had," Mr McCrindle said.
"People are finding they can head a bit further out and they can get breathing space on the mortgage and get more for less - and the lifestyle is there as well.
"What we now have, and it's really now the first time we have had it, is people moving to the regions but on capital city salaries.
"They are taking the job with them to the new location and that is giving them an extra financial springboard - lower costs but maintained earnings.
"It will also raise up the earnings of others in their regional areas.
"They can spend more so it's a boom for the regional economies."
The top-earning postcode areas in the state, according to the latest Australian Taxation Office data from 2017-18, were mining towns Middlemount and Moranbah with average yearly wages across full time and part-time workers of $109,994 and $105,071, respectively.
They are followed by Bulimba/Balmoral/Hawthorne at $101,239 and Bardon at $98,981.
At the other end of the spectrum, Queensland's lowest earners were in Bollon/Bargunyah averaging $41,075, Fleurbaix/Cottonvale averaging $44,061 and Thulimbah averaging $45,402.
Mr McCrindle, principal of research company McCrindle, said several factors led to the current difference in salary between metropolitan and regional areas but a major driver was the mix of roles in each.
For example, highly-paid chief executives and general managers were typically at company headquarters in the capitals, while field officers were in the regions.
A survey of more than 1000 Australian office workers last year by software company Citrix found, however, perceptions of cities were changing.
Only a third of respondents (33 per cent) now saw big city living as beneficial to their career opportunities, down from almost half (49 per cent) before the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
More than two in five (44 per cent) said they had either abandoned their city dwelling or planned to do so because they could now work remotely.
Citrix field chief technology officer for Asia Pacific and Japan Safi Obeidullah said remote work was here to stay in one form or another.
"The genie is out of the bottle now," he said.
"We are seeing most people are looking to retain remote working as part of their working practice.
"It could be full time or hybrid (so) in some cases, don't go too far, you may need to come into the office on a semi-regular basis so that's something to keep in mind."
Australia's highest median full-time salaries were in the ACT ($1650 a week) and Greater Perth ($1643) while the lowest medians were in Tasmania excluding Hobart ($1250) and Greater Adelaide ($1284).
WORKERS MOVE TO THE GOLD COAST
Workers are flocking to the Gold Coast from interstate for a sea-change and to take advantage of the city's enviable coastal lifestyle.
Simon Magnay, 18, from Casino in NSW moved to Ashmore for an apprenticeship in engineering and diesel fitting with Riviera Australia at Coomera.
"I've been working full-time here since the start of the year. I was pretty keen to work in an industry I'm interested in," he said.
"I've been around boats all of my life so I kind of wanted to keep at it."
Mr Magnay was not surprised the Coast is in hot demand at the moment and he has been taking every opportunity to hit the water after shifts with the busy boat builder.
"It's been a big change. Heaps more people around and lots more to do," he said.
"It's great to be able to go crabbing after work, I'll tell you that."
Mr Magnay said the Coast was an attractive place to live, considering employment opportunities and its relatively laid back lifestyle.
"I like fishing a fair bit, so that's probably the main attraction for me," he said.
Mr Magnay said wages on the Coast were much more enticing than in regional NSW.
"The pay around here is so good compared to Casino," he said.
"I've got mates down there and they're a bit jealous of my wage, basically."
Riviera - Australia's largest yacht builder - has about 80 apprentices and accepts about 20 new apprentices each year, who are guided by a 600-strong team.
The boat builder has performed well in recent times despite COVID-19, and still has room for more apprentices - though any new recruits may struggle to find a place to live.
The rental vacancy rate on the Coast is less than one per cent as an influx of interstate migrants move in, while those looking to buy a property also face stiff competition.
Originally published as Queensland's top earning suburbs: See how you compare