Work in Australia

Job Opportunity

More than 11.5 million Australians are employed. The workforce is highly concentrated on the Eastern seaboard, with more than three quarters of workers employed in the three most populous states (New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland). Over the five years to November 2012, employment rose in all states and territories and there were almost 840,000 new jobs nationally. The largest number of new jobs was in New South Wales (227,900, a rise of 6.7%), but employment growth was strongest in Western Australia (up by 15.4% or 175,200).

Which industries have grown?

Over the five years to November 2012, around 838,500 new jobs were created. More than 100,000 new jobs were created in each of

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Mining
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Education and Training.
    Interestingly, although Mining experienced the largest percentage rise in employment over the five years to November 2012 (94.3%), and had the second largest number of new jobs (130,900), it directly accounts for just 2.3% of national employment.

 Sectors

Administrative and Support Services has 3.4% of national employment (397,100) with jobs concentrated in the state capital cities. Over the five years to November 2012, employment grew strongly (up by 13.0% or 45,700). Employment is projected to increase at a slightly lower rate than the national average over the next five years (up by 6.6% or 26,100). Labourers make up a higher proportion of workers in Administrative and Support Services than in any industry (41.1% compared with the all industries average of 10.2%). Cleaners (Commercial, Domestic and Other) make up more than one quarter of the workforce in this industry. Compared with the all industries average, workers in this industry are more likely to be female and work part-time. Workers in this industry are also less likely to have post-school qualifications. Accordingly, the industry offers many entry-level opportunities to the labour market. About one in three jobs (around 133,600) is outside state capital cities.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing employs 322,500 workers and accounts for 2.8% of national employment. About 88% of jobs are outside state capitals and in many regional areas it is a major employer. There are around 293,000 jobs in this industry outside state capital cities. Employment is heavily concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations. Farmers and Farm Managers account for more than half of the workforce. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has the oldest age profile of any industry, with almost three in five workers aged 45 years or older. Many people in this industry continue working beyond the usual retirement age. Females make up a relatively low proportion of the workforce and few workers hold post-school qualifications. Employment fell by 26,400 over the five years to November 2012. This is the only industry expected to experience a decline in its employment over the five years to November 2017, down by 13,500 (or 4.2%).

Arts and Recreation Services is a small employing industry with 217,900 workers, or 1.9% of national employment. It covers a diverse range of activities including the operation of casinos, museums, parks and gardens, creative and performing arts, and professional and recreational sports. Employment is slightly more concentrated in state capital cities than the national average, but there are around 70,000 jobs in regional areas. Over the five years to November 2012, employment growth was above average and 17,800 new jobs were created. Employment is projected to continue to increase relatively strongly, up by 21,800 (or 10.0%) over the five years to November 2017, driven by growth in Sports and Recreation Activities. Almost half the workers in this industry are employed part-time and the workforce is relatively young (almost one in four workers is aged 15 to 24 years), so it presents good opportunities for entry to the labour market. More than two in five workers do not hold post-school qualifications, but the proportion who hold a bachelor degree or higher qualification is close to the national average.

Construction is the third largest employing industry in Australia, with 8.6% of national employment. Over the five years to November 2012, employment rose at a relatively low rate, reflecting in large part a decline in employment over the year to November 2012 (down by 3.7% or 37,800). Despite this weak growth, there were 31,500 new jobs created over the five years. This industry is expected to recover over the next five years, with employment projected to increase strongly, up by 100,200 (or 10.1%) to November 2017. The Construction workforce is dominated by Technicians and Trades Workers. Consistent with this, more than half the workers hold vocational education and training qualifications at the certificate III or higher level. Construction has the lowest proportion of females of any industry. The workforce is younger than the all industries average, and workers are predominantly employed full-time. This industry has a slightly higher proportion of its workforce outside state capital cities than the national average, offering around 398,500 jobs in regional areas.

Education and Training is a relatively large industry, with almost 900,000 workers, or 7.8% of national employment. It experienced strong growth over the five years to November 2012, equating to 108,200 new jobs. Over the five years to November 2017, employment is projected to increase at a rate similar to the national average, with 64,500 new jobs expected. This industry’s workforce is female dominated (70% of workers are female), and part-time work is common. This industry also has a relatively older workforce, which suggests there is likely to be relatively high replacement demand in the next decade as workers retire. Education and Training employs the largest proportion of Professionals of any industry (61.8% compared with the all industries average of 22.3%), mainly Teachers. Reflecting this, the industry also has the highest proportion of workers with a bachelor degree or higher qualification.

Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services is Australia’s smallest employing industry, with slightly less than 150,000 employed, or 1.3% of national employment. There were 38,300 new jobs created over the five years to November 2012, the result of very strong growth. This industry has a slightly larger proportion of its workforce outside state capital cities than the national average, providing around 66,300 regional jobs. Following past strong growth, employment rises over the five years to November 2017 are projected to be more moderate, up by 3,300 or 2.2%. Almost all workers in this industry are employed full-time (around one in ten workers is employed part-time) and the workforce is male dominated (three in four workers are male). Workers in this industry are relatively skilled, with a large proportion holding a certificate III or higher vocational qualification.

Financial and Insurance Services is a relatively small employing industry with 421,400 workers, representing 3.7% of national employment. Over the five years to November 2012, employment rose by 16,600 (or 4.1%). A similar number of new jobs are projected to be created over the five years to November 2017 (16,100 or 3.8%). Employment is highly concentrated in state capital cities, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where many financial institutions have their head offices. The higher education sector plays an important role in the provision of skills, with two in every five workers holding a bachelor degree or higher qualification. Clerical and Administrative Workers and Professionals dominate this workforce, accounting for around four in every five workers. This is markedly higher than their share of total national employment (37% or slightly more than one in three workers).

Health Care and Social Assistance has experienced strong growth over the past decade and is Australia’s largest employing industry, with almost 1.4 million workers, or 11.9% of national employment. It is also the largest employer in regional Australia, with more than half a million jobs outside state capitals. Over the five years to November 2017, employment is expected to continue to increase strongly, up by 13.0% (or 177,800). This represents more than one fifth of the total number of new jobs. The industry’s workforce is female dominated (most of the largest occupations have relatively small proportions of males employed). It also has a slightly higher proportion of older workers than the average across all industries. Workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry are generally highly skilled. Most workers hold post-school qualifications, reflecting the requirements for entry to most of the occupations which are key to the sector. A high proportion of workers are Professionals (almost twice the average for all industries).

Information Media and Telecommunications is a diverse industry including newspaper and internet publishing, radio and broadcasting. It is also a small employing industry with 229,100 jobs, or 2.0% of national employment. New South Wales has a relatively high concentration of this industry’s jobs (44.9%) and relatively few jobs are located outside the state capital cities. Employment fell by 4,900 over the five years to November 2012, but some jobs growth is projected over the five years to November 2017, a rise of 9,600 (or 4.2%). Two in five workers in this industry are Professionals (almost twice the national average). Reflecting this, workers in this sector are likely to hold post-school qualifications, in particular a bachelor degree or higher qualification. Workers in Information Media and Telecommunications are more likely to be young males who are employed full-time than the all industries average.

Mining is a small employing industry, with 269,700 jobs or 2.3% of national employment. Over the five years to November 2012 this industry recorded strong employment growth and contributed the second largest number of new jobs (130,900) of any industry. Over the five years to November 2017, employment growth is expected to be more moderate, up by 11,500 (or 4.3%). Western Australia (40.2%) and Queensland (27.3%) have high concentrations of Mining employment. The industry is a significant employer in some regional areas, with around 157,500 workers, or 59% of its workforce, employed outside state capital cities. Most workers in Mining are male and are employed full-time. In fact, this industry’s workforce has a high proportion of men, and the lowest proportion of part-time jobs of any industry. The workforce is relatively skilled, with two in five workers holding a certificate III or higher vocational qualification, compared with 30% across all industries.

Other Services, which has employment of 451,300 and accounts for 3.9% of the national total, is a diverse industry which includes personal care, funeral and religious services, and machinery and automotive repair and maintenance activities. This diversity is highlighted by the range of the occupations employed. Employment fell by 20,600, or 4.4% over the five years to November 2012, but above average employment growth is expected over the five years to November 2017 with a rise of 38,500 (or 8.5%). The new jobs are projected to be relatively evenly split between the two largest subdivisions of Repair and Maintenance, and Personal and Other Services. A relatively high proportion of the workforce holds post-school qualifications, although the proportion holding a bachelor degree or higher qualification is low. Nearly half of the workers in this industry are Technicians and Trades Workers and, consistent with this, more than half hold a certificate III or higher vocational education and training qualification. The workforce is slightly younger than the all industries average, but other aspects of the workforce profile are similar to those of the total workforce.