Professionals

This image shows that there were 2,914,100 people employed as Professionals as at November 2017, up 3.1% since November 2016 and 14.8% since November 2012. Employment is projected to grow by 12.1% over the five years to May 2022.
23% of jobs are regional (down 1 percentage point over 5 years).
55% of workers are female (up 3 percentage points over 5 years).
92% of workers hold post-school qualifications (up 1 percentage point over 5 years).
26% of jobs are part-time (up 2 percentage points over 5 years).
The median age is 40 years (no change over 5 years).

Top 5 Professional Occupations

Top 5 Professional Occupations
Occupation Number
Registered Nurses 279,300
Accountants 184,800
Primary School Teachers 158,900
Secondary School Teachers 131,600
Software and Applications Programmers 109,100

The Professionals group employs a larger number of Australian workers (almost one in every four) than any other occupation group. The group has also accounted for the largest number of new jobs over the past five years (up by 375,000 or 14.8%). Significant numbers of jobs were created for Health Professionals (up by 117,700), including Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (up by 49,100) and Medical Practitioners (26,800).

In line with the recent employment growth, the number of vacancies advertised on the Internet for Professionals has increased by around 40% since 2013 (but remains well below the peak in 2008).

The majority (65%) of Professionals are employed in just three industries: Health Care and Social Assistance, Education and Training and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.

Most Professional jobs require a bachelor degree or higher qualification (75% of Professionals have this level of qualification), so university study is the main pathway for employment. Higher education enrolments have increased strongly over the past decade (up by 45%). In 2016 there were more than 1.06 million domestic students enrolled in higher education. Accordingly, for some Professional occupations, there are now large numbers of qualified applicants vying for vacancies and there is evidence of a surplus of labour. Consistent with this, bachelor degree graduate employment outcomes have fallen over the past decade (see Higher Education).

Did you know?
Professionals are the least likely to drive to work and the most likely to take public transport or bicycle

Educational attainment, Professionals (%)

Shows the educational attainment profile of the Professionals workforce.  Bachelor degree or higher 75%. Certificate III or higher VET qualification 14%. Other qualification 3%. No post-school qualification 8%.

Age profile, Professionals (%)

Shows the age profile of the Professionals workforce. 6% aged 15 to 24 years. 28% aged 25 to 34 years. 26% aged 35 to 44 years. 21% aged 45 to 54 years. 19% aged 55 years or older.

A relatively low proportion of Professionals are young (aged 15 to 24 years), mainly because it takes at least three years of post-school study to gain the necessary qualifications.

There are marked differences in the representation of men and women across occupations in the Professionals group. Around 74% of Health Professionals and 72% of Education Professionals are female, but 82% of ICT Professionals are male. The extent of part‑time employment also varies, being relatively rare for ICT Professionals but more common for Arts and Media Professionals, Health Professionals and Education Professionals.

Professionals perform analytical, conceptual and creative tasks which are less susceptible to automation with technology. Professionals employment is projected to grow strongly over the five years to May 2022 (up by 12.1%).

Employment, Professionals (‘000)

This line chart shows the number of people employed in the Professionals occupation group over the period from November 1997 to November 2017. The chart shows employment increased strongly over this period to 2,914,100 in November 2017.

Employment by occupation subgroup, Professionals

Employment by occupation subgroup, Professionals
  Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
  Employ’t Nov 2017 5 year change
to Nov 2017
Part-time Female Aged 15 to 24 years Aged 55 years or older Bachelor degree or higher Cert III or higher VET qual No post-school qual 5 year change to May 2022
Occupation subgroup ‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Arts and Media Professionals 104.7 8.8 9.2 41 53 10 18 51 20 24 0.1
Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals 707.3 84.9 13.6 18 49 6 16 65 18 13 8.7
Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals 407.0 14.8 3.8 16 31 7 15 72 18 7 10.0
Education Professionals 583.8 79.6 15.8 35 72 7 23 84 10 5 9.6
Health Professionals 610.4 111.7 22.4 37 74 5 21 82 12 3 21.3
ICT Professionals 249.0 23.9 10.6 8 18 4 10 68 15 12 12.3
Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals 245.5 53.5 27.9 30 63 4 25 82 11 5 12.9
All Professionals1 2,914.1 375.0 14.8 26 55 6 19 75 14 8 12.1

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Census of Population and Housing; ABS, Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Occupation Employment Projections; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Internet Vacancy Index; Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Statistics; QILT, Graduate Outcomes Survey

1. Some data are trend and, for these, totals do not add

For more information see joboutlook.gov.au