Direct numerical simulation data of supersonic axisymmetric wakes are analysed for the existence of large coherent structures. Wakes at Ma = 2.46 are considered with results being presented for cases at Reynolds numbers ReD = 30, 000 and 100,000. Criteria for identification of coherent structures in free-shear flows found in the literature are compiled and discussed, and the role of compressibility is addressed. In particular, the ability and reliability of visualisation techniques intended for incompressible shear-flows to educe meaningful structures in supersonic wakes is scrutinised. It is shown that some of these methods retain their usefulness for identification of vortical structures as long as the swirling rate is larger than the local compression and expansion rates in the flow field. As a measure for the validity of this condition in a given flow the 'vortex compressibility parameter' is proposed which is derived here. Best 'visibility' of coherent structures is achieved by employing visualisation techniques and proper orthogonal decomposition in combination with the introduction of artificial perturbations (forcing of the wake). The existence of both helical and longitudinal structures in the shear layer and of hairpin-like structures in the developing wake is demonstrated. In addition, elongated tubes of streamwise vorticity are observed to emanate from the region of recirculating flow.