There are many things to consider when thinking about which occupation might be best for you. The Occupation Matrix and the case studies below give examples of what to consider and show how diverse occupation labour markets can be.
You may also want to consider a range of other factors, such as whether particular occupations require you to work outdoors, are physically demanding or include shift work, as lifestyle factors may influence your choice. These issues are not included in this publication but career advisers and employment services organisations may be able to assist.
Carpenters and Joiners
(part of Technicians and Trades Workers)
- There are around 131,900 Carpenters and Joiners. Employment has risen by 11,900 (or 9.9%) over the past five years.
- The number of advertised jobs on the Internet for these workers has doubled over the past five years.
- A national shortage of these workers re-emerged in 2017 (evident for the first time since 2008).
- Employment is projected to remain relatively unchanged over the five years to May 2022.
- Entry to this trade is generally through the completion of an apprenticeship. Around three quarters of Carpenters and Joiners hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification.
- There are opportunities for self-employment, with around 37% of Carpenters and Joiners being owner managers.
- The workforce is relatively young. The median age is 32 and 25% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years.
- These workers are predominantly male and most work full-time (92%).
- The median weekly full-time wage is $1000.
- There is potential for career progression into higher skilled occupations, such as Construction Manager.
Aged and Disabled Carers
(part of Community and Personal Service Workers)
- This is a large and fast growing occupation. There are 171,000 Aged and Disabled Carers, and employment has increased by 49,800 (or 41.1%) over the past five years.
- In line with rising employment, the number of advertised jobs on the Internet has increased strongly over the past five years (up by around 35%).
- Employment is projected to continue to grow strongly (up by 47.3% over the five years to May 2022) as the Australian population ages.
- The workforce is relatively old. The median age is 47 and almost 30% of workers are aged 55 years or older. In addition to new jobs being created, further opportunities will occur as people retire over the next decade or so.
- Employers generally seek applicants who hold relevant qualifications. Around 52% of these workers hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification and 14% have a bachelor degree or higher.
- Aged and Disabled Carers are predominantly female (77%) and part-time work is common (64%).
- The median weekly full-time wage is $900.
General Sales Assistants
(part of Sales Workers)
- This is the largest employing occupation in Australia (with 553,200 workers) and there are opportunities in almost every location. Around 51,700 new jobs were added over the past five years (up by 10.3%).
- Employment is projected to rise by 4.7% over the five years to May 2022, although more vacancies will be created as people leave to work in other occupations or retire.
- Around 73% of General Sales Assistants work in Retail Trade and a further 14% work in Accommodation and Food Services.
- There are good opportunities for entry to the labour market as post-school qualifications are generally not required.
- A large share of these jobs are part-time and there may be a need to work weekends and evenings, providing an opportunity to study while you work. Around 37% of these workers are completing some form of education, including 18% who are at university.
- There is often strong competition for these jobs.
- The workforce is relatively young, with almost half aged 15 to 24 years.
- The median weekly full-time wage is $850.
Software and Application Programmers
(part of Professionals)
- This is a growing occupation. There are 109,100 Software and Applications Programmers, an increase of by 25,100 (or 29.9%) over the past five years.
- Employment is projected to grow by 14.5% over the five years May 2022.
- The number of advertised jobs on the Internet for these workers has increased steadily since 2014 (but remains below the peak in 2008).
- University education is generally required (80% hold a bachelor degree or higher) but employers also value certifications in software packages and relevant experience.
- Higher education enrolments in Information Technology have increased by around 12% over the past decade.
- Employment outcomes for Computing and Information Systems bachelor degree graduates are above average (in 2017, 73.1% of were employed full-time four months after completing their study).
- Employment is available across a broad range of industries.
- The workforce is relatively young, with the median age being 37.
- Software and Applications Programmers are mostly male (85%) and jobs are typically full-time.
- Earnings are high. The median weekly full-time wage is $1803.
Bar Attendants and Baristas
(part of Community and Personal Service Workers)
- There are 111,500 Bar Attendants and Baristas and jobs are available in most locations. Employment has risen by 24,800 (28.6%) over the past five years.
- Above average employment growth is projected over the five years to May 2022 (up by 11.8%).
- The number of advertised jobs on the Internet increased strongly over the year to December 2017.
- There is strong competition for these positions, with employers usually attracting large fields of applicants.
- There are good opportunities for entry to the labour market. Post-school qualifications are generally not needed, although previous experience is valued and employers usually require applicants to have relevant licences (such as Responsible Service of Alcohol) and excellent customer service skills.
- Most work part-time (64%) and hours can include late nights and weekends, which may suit people combining work with study. Around one in four of these workers are also attending university.
- Bar Attendants and Baristas are generally young (the median age is 24).
- The median weekly full-time wage is $873.
Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Census of Population and Housing; ABS, Characteristics of Employment; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Occupation Employment Projections; Department of Jobs and Small Business; Entry Level Jobs – opportunities and barriers; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Skill Shortage Research; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Internet Vacancy Index; NCVER, Apprentices and Trainees; Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Statistics; QILT, Graduate Outcomes Survey