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Let’s start talking about how many people work in different jobs

Do you know how many other people are working in the same profession as you?

I’m a Career Advisor, and there are 1,980 Career Advisors working in Australia, which is about the same as the number of Biochemists (1,918), Air Traffic Controllers (1,951), Recycling Workers (2,041), and Chauffers (2,134).

When we talk about jobs, options, and labour market information with students we often focus on things like salary or predicted demand for those roles, but we spend less time talking about the size of different professions.

But, in this case, size does matter. Knowing how many people are actually employed in different roles can help us estimate the likelihood of finding work in the same profession, and growth rate alone isn’t enough to tell us what the prospects could be for any particular role.

For example, Blacksmith has just been added to the Skills Priority List, which means the government has decided we need more people to go into this profession. Blacksmiths fit under the Metal Casting, Forging and Finishing Trades group, which has expected future growth across the group of 6%. But there are currently only 96 people in Australia who are working primarily as Blacksmiths (which is too small a number to estimate projected future growth), and even if the occupation grows by the expected 6% we will still only have 102 people working as Blacksmiths – so, in theory, we only need another 6 people to join the trade to meet expectations.

Which makes Blacksmith not as exciting as prospect as if you looked at the data and ignored the size of the profession.

In contrast, if you looked at Personal Carers (which includes aged carers and disabled carers), there are 289,700 people employed in this role already, with expected growth of 28%. When we put these two together, we can see that we’ll need over 80,000 people to become Personal Carers in the next few years to meet demand.

This isn’t to say that people who want to become Blacksmiths won’t be able to follow their plans, but it is something to consider when speaking about the options.

Using data from the ATO, I’ve pulled together some of the statistics about the numbers of people working in different jobs by Cluster, and for context I’ve also included their average salary in Australia. I was surprised to find that there are more Accountants that Nurses, and more Civil Engineers than Baristas, and I’m sure there’s more to uncover.

Lawyers 61,277  $         134,000
Accountants 133,137  $            99,000
Marine biologist 1,288  $            82,758
Teachers 339,960  $            76,000
Detectives 5420  $         115,000
Midwifes 20,010  $            69,938
Cardiothoracic Surgeon 144  $         422,000
Registered Nurses 101,497  $            69,083
Baristas 37,247  $            28,504
Forklift Drivers 36,715  $            57,513
Chefs 107,534  $            45,757
Boilermakers 47,687  $            80,441
Choreographers 906  $            41,912
Architects 18,677  $            95,399
Civil Engineers 40,078  $         118,417
Graphic Designers 2,280  $            77,614
IT Business Analysts 19,278  $         109,909
Funeral Directors 2,174  $            78,017
Social Workers 45,647  $            65,630
Real Estate Agents 11,754  $            80,876
Bank Managers 18,904  $         144,595
Executive Assistants 45,638  $            67,701
Construction Project Manager 62,934  $         117,043
Bookkeeper 37,337  $            51,806

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Pondering Careers – Edition 40 – An argument for basic training

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