Browse Adzuna Blog »

Danger Pay. Does it Still Exist in 2017?



Analysis of the most recent data set from Safe Work Australia (2003-2015), combined with current salary information from jobs website Adzuna, reveals Australia’s deadliest jobs are some of the worst paid.

Adzuna focused on the breakdown agency in the report, which identifies the object, substance or circumstance principally involved at the point at which things started to go wrong.

Mobile plant and transport accounted for 61 per cent of fatalities over the 2003–15 period and 53 per cent of fatalities in 2015. Within this group, trucks, semi-trailers or lorries were the biggest contributor accounting for 18 per cent of all worker fatalities. This was followed by cars, station wagons, vans or utilities with 9 per cent, and tractors with 4 per cent.

Mobile Plant & Transport Jobs + Average Advertised Salary

Profession Average Advertised Salary – Adzuna
Truck Driver $63,173
Courier $52,732
Tractor Driver $50,400
Excavator Operator $76,756
Crane Operator $74,708
Bobcat Operator $64,745


Over the 13 years from 2003 to 2015, 359 workers died following falls from a height, which amounted to 11 per cent of all worker fatalities. In 2015, 26 workers died due to this mechanism.

Jobs Working at Heights + Average Advertised Salary

Profession Average Advertised Salary – Adzuna
Scaffolder $81,254
Roofer $70,400
Builder $87,740
Electrician $77,166
Arborist $58,920


Adzuna CEO Raife Watson says,  “The highest number of deaths and injuries actually occur in more day to day jobs, such as truck driving, or jobs working at heights in construction. These jobs do not attract the big pay packets.”

“Many of these jobs will be replaced by automation in the coming years, whereas careers in healthcare, which involves high degrees of human interaction and critical thinking, will continue to be in demand and attract higher salaries,” Mr Watson said.


The safest industries, in terms of lowest amount of reported worker fatalities from 2003-2015, include:

  1. Financial and insurance services
  2. Information Media and Telecommunications
  3. Education and Training
  4. Healthcare

These industries also attract higher salaries compared to the most dangerous jobs in Australia:

  • Healthcare – $143,086 (Inflated by demand for locum GPs with high hourly rate.)
  • IT – $117,079
  • Finance – $87,281


Dangerous Jobs by State and Territory + Average Advertised Salary

Total Deaths 958 633 789 400 200 84 127 16
% Population 0.025 0.020 0.032 0.029 0.024 0.061 0.051 0.007
Average advertised salary $90,293 $86,044 $84,210 $88,050 $82,097 $74,623 $70,724 $105,451


The Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland are the most dangerous states to work and also attract the lowest average advertised salaries.


The A.C.T is by far the safest place to work in Australia and also attracts the highest average advertised salaries at $105,451.


Raife Watson offers the following advice for workers:


  • If you are working in a dangerous, high-risk job, make sure you are adequately insured. Workers compensation will only cover so much and paying for additional insurance could prove invaluable if you are involved in a serious incident while at work.


  • Speak to your workplace health and safety officer and stay up-to-date on the best, safest work practices. These officers go through annual training and can offer advice on the safest way to get the job done.


  • People in the age bracket 45-54 are most at risk of suffering a workplace fatality, while young workers 25 and under are least likely to perish at work. Older workers are not as spritely as they used to be. The eyesight is poorer and they are not moving as quickly. Older workers need to be aware of this and understand, although they feel okay, they are not bullet proof. Take extra precautions and slow down.