Industry Overview

What is an industry?

Industries are formed by grouping together businesses and other organisations that are mainly engaged in undertaking similar activities. Within each industry, workers are employed across a wide range of occupations of varying skill levels. For example, the Construction industry includes people employed as Construction Managers, Accountants, Electricians and Building and Plumbing Labourers.

There are 19 broad industries as defined by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) and these industries are discussed in more detail in this section of Australian Jobs.

Which are the largest employing industries in Australia?

Five industries each provide more than one million jobs. Around 50% of Australian workers are employed in one of these five industries.

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (1,685,100).
  • Retail Trade (1,272,300).
  • Construction (1,166,900).
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (1,082,100).
  • Education and Training (1,035,400).

Which industries employ young people?

Young workers (15 to 24 years) are employed across all industries, although some offer more opportunities than others. Industries with large numbers of young workers include

  • Retail Trade (around 410,000)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (400,000)
  • Construction (190,000).

Which industries have gained or lost jobs?

Over the five years to November 2018, the largest numbers of new jobs were created in

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (up by 297,500)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (175,700)
  • Construction (171,700).

Job losses were recorded in two industries.

  • Wholesale Trade (down by 17,800).
  • Mining (11,900).

Share of total new jobs, five years to November 2018*

Employment by industry

Employment by industry
Industry Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
Employ’t Nov 2018  5 year change
to Nov 2018
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 2023
‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Health Care and Social Assistance 1,685.1 297.5 21.4 45 79 9 23 48 32 16 14.9
Retail Trade 1,272.3 36.8 3.0 51 56 32 14 16 26 53 3.7
Construction 1,166.9 171.7 17.3 15 12 16 16 11 51 33 10.0
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 1,082.1 175.7 19.4 23 44 10 17 63 19 16 10.2
Education and Training 1,035.4 141.3 15.8 39 72 9 22 65 19 13 11.2
Manufacturing 965.6 38.2 4.1 16 29 12 20 18 36 42 0.9
Accommodation and Food Services 900.1 127.0 16.4 60 55 45 10 15 25 55 9.1
Public Administration and Safety 838.5 85.3 11.3 17 49 5 22 39 31 24 5.0
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 648.7 63.8 10.9 21 21 8 25 17 32 46 4.3
Other Services 484.7 11.9 2.5 32 45 15 18 16 52 25 1.4
Financial and Insurance Services 448.8 32.7 7.9 17 49 7 14 50 24 23 3.2
Administrative and Support Services 407.4 19.2 5.0 42 53 12 21 23 28 43 6.6
Wholesale Trade 381.7 -17.8 -4.4 17 33 10 22 24 29 40 -2.7
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 327.3 16.1 5.2 28 30 10 41 13 30 49 -0.4
Mining 255.8 -11.9 -4.5 4 16 6 14 24 43 28 2.4
Arts and Recreation Services 244.5 36.8 17.7 48 48 27 15 31 27 38 8.7
Information Media and Telecommunications 227.1 32.2 16.5 22 41 12 14 45 25 27 4.7
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 218.2 20.1 10.2 25 49 13 22 30 31 33 5.9
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 153.0 1.7 1.1 11 23 6 18 32 38 25 4.1
All Industries1 12,694.8 1,242.5 10.8 32 47 15 19 32 31 32 7.1

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

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Education and Work; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Employment Projections