The Professionals graphic shows image 23% of jobs are regional. 6% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 14% of workers are self-employed.
78% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 13% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 2% of workers hold an other qualification. 7% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.


Annual employment growth

Professionals is the largest employing occupation group in Australia (accounting for one in every four workers).

There are clear differences in the representation of men and women across occupations in the Professionals group. Around 75% of Health Professionals and 72% of Education Professionals are female, but 79% 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.

Are qualifications or experience needed?

Most Professional jobs require a bachelor degree or higher qualification (78% of Professionals have this level of qualification), so university study is the main pathway for employment. Reflecting the time it takes to gain relevant qualifications, a relatively small proportion of Professionals are aged 15 to 24 years (only 6%).

In addition to qualifications, skills that are often required to be a Professional include communication, planning, project management, problem solving, writing and research.

Top employing occupations

Registered Nurses 309,100
Accountants 198,100
Primary School Teachers 178,900
Software and Applications Programmers 150,700
Secondary School Teachers 121,000
Management and Organisation Analysts 101,500
Solicitors 96,600
Advertising and Marketing Professionals 88,900
Human Resource Professionals 80,400
General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers 70,200
University Lecturers and Tutors 60,400
Graphic and Web Designers, and Illustrators 54,100
Civil Engineering Professionals 53,000
Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists 52,800
Financial Investment Advisers and Managers 52,100
Private Tutors and Teachers 51,900
Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers 51,100
Other Information and Organisation Professionals 49,000
Architects and Landscape Architects 46,400
Pharmacists 42,600

Are there job opportunities?

There will continue to be job opportunities for Professionals. Along with the rising demand for these workers, the supply of university educated Australians is also increasing, with higher education enrolments increasing significantly over the past decade. With more university graduates, and more people searching for work, there are now large numbers of qualified applicants competing for some Professional occupations.

With increased competition, job seekers are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with their availability and highlight their transferable skills and experience. Employers will be looking for reliable and flexible workers, with good communication skills who can learn new tasks quickly and adapt to new working environments. If you can, give examples from your work history which highlight these skills and can help you stand out from the crowd.

Within this occupation group, the National Skills Commission’s 2021 Skills Priority List identifies skills shortages for around 19% of all Professional occupations. Accountant, Developer Programmer and Software Engineer are all large employing occupations which are in shortage and have strong projected future demand

In which industries do Professionals work?

Around two-thirds of Professionals are employed in just three industries: Health Care and Social Assistance (23% of Professional employment), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (22%) and Education and Training (21%).

Employment by occupation subgroup, Professionals

  Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
  Employ’t May 2021 5 year change
to May 2021
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 2025
Occupation subgroup ‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Arts and Media Professionals 121.5 19.5 19.1 40 55 10 19 55 20 24 4.2
Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals 841.3 171.4 25.6 18 50 5 16 73 15 10 9.5
Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals 494.3 103.2 26.4 17 33 8 15 76 15 7 12.1
Education Professionals 640.8 114.1 21.7 35 72 8 22 84 9 5 8.7
Health Professionals 703.4 142.2 25.3 38 75 6 20 85 10 2 15.2
ICT Professionals 344.6 92.5 36.7 8 21 5 10 70 16 11 26.6
Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals 284.0 72.7 34.4 29 67 4 21 82 12 5 17.5
All Professionals 3,415.5 681.1 24.9 26 55 6 18 78 13 7 13.2

Sources: ABS, Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations; ABS, Characteristics of Employment; ABS, Education and Work; ABS, Labour Force (seasonally adjusted and annual averages of original data); National Skills Commission, Employment Projections; National Skills Commission, Skills Priority List, 2021.