Occupation Profiles (Selected Case Studies)

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 how diverse occupational 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 careers advisers and employment services organisations may be able to assist.

Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers

(part of Professionals)

  • There are 36,400 Early Childhood Teachers.
  • Work is mainly in child care centres and schools in Health Care and Social Assistance or Education and Training. Many child care centres experience difficulty recruiting these workers.
  • Employment rose strongly over the five years to November 2015, and is expected to increase by 27.0% or 9,800 over the next five years.
  • Most workers are female (97%).
  • About 48% of Early Childhood Teachers work part-time.
  • Earnings are around average.
  • Entry requires a bachelor degree.
  • Bachelor degree graduates in this field of study have relatively strong employment outcomes.


(part of Technicians and Trades Workers)

  • This is a large, strong growing occupation with 165,500 workers.
  • Entry is generally through an Australian Apprenticeship leading to a certificate III. Electrician apprenticeships are highly sought after.
  • In addition to qualifications, workers are required to have relevant (often state-specific) electrical licences.
  • Most Electricians work full-time (94%) and just 1% are female.
  • There is strong competition from qualified and licensed Electricians for available vacancies, and national shortages have not been apparent since 2011.
  • There are opportunities for self-employment in this trade, with around one in five Electricians being an owner manager.
  • Employment is principally in the Construction industry, but Manufacturing also has a significant share of jobs.
  • Earnings are relatively high.

Building and Plumbing Labourers

(part of Labourers)

  • There are 54,700 Building and Plumbing Labourers employed nationally.
  • Employment fell marginally over the five years to November 2015 (down by 1.2% or 700) and it is projected to fall further over the next five years.
  • This occupation may provide opportunities for entry to the labour market, as qualifications are not generally required. Around 64% of Building and Plumbing Labourers do not hold post-school qualifications.
  • A construction white card is mandatory for many of these jobs but it is relatively easy to obtain.

Accounting Clerks

(part of Clerical and Administrative Workers)

  • This is a relatively lower skilled and lower growth occupation, with jobs widely dispersed across industries.
  • Around 137,400 workers are employed as Accounting Clerks.
  • Employment rose slightly (up by 1.6% or 2,100) over the past five years but there is projected to be a fall in employment over the next five.
  • Around 81% of Accounting Clerks are women and slightly more than one third of these workers (37%) are employed part-time.
  • About 40% of Accounting Clerks do not hold post-school qualifications, but 31% have a certificate III or higher vocational education and training qualification and 27% have a bachelor degree or higher.

Civil Engineering Professionals

(part of Professionals)

  • This is the largest specialisation of engineers, with 43,000 employed.
  • Employment fell over the five years to November 2015 (down by 9.2% or 4,400), but strong growth is expected over the next five.
  • Entry to this occupation requires a minimum of four years study at university and attainment of a bachelor degree.
  • Just 6% of Civil Engineers work part-time and 90% of the workforce is male.
  • Shortages were evident over much of the early 2000s but the labour market eased in 2013 and there are now relatively large numbers of qualified applicants for each advertised vacancy.
  • Graduate employment outcomes have fallen markedly since 2007, but remain above the all bachelor degree average.
  • Earnings for this occupation are relatively high.

Bar Attendants and Baristas

(part of Community and Personal Service Workers)

  • This is a large occupation, with more than 93,000 workers.
  • Jobs are available in most locations.
  • Employment grew strongly over the five years to November 2015 (up by 24.7% or 18,600). Further strong growth is expected.
  • Bar Attendants and Baristas are generally young (the median age is 25 years) and most work part-time (61%). Although the hours can be unsociable, they often suit people combining work with study.
  • Employers usually require applicants to have on-the-job experience, hold relevant licences (such as Responsible Service of Alcohol) and have excellent customer service skills.
  • Employers generally attract large numbers of applicants regardless of the location of the vacancy.
  • Earnings are low.

Sources: GCA, GradStats and Graduate Destinations; NCVER, Student Outcomes; ABS, Census of Population and Housing; ABS, Education and Work; ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); Department of Employment, Entry level jobs – opportunities and barriers; Department of Employment, Skill Shortage Research