What Occupations does Australia Need?

July 29, 2022
Myer Lipschitz

One of the questions I am most frequently asked in my online seminars is what occupations are in demand in Australia at present. Upon reflection my answer of “everyone” might be a bit too glib but with the unemployment rate hitting the historic low of 3.5% it is not far from the truth. In the next four years Australia will require 1.2 million more workers, mostly skilled to keep up with the labour market demand. 

A recent report by the National Skills Commission on employment projections over the next few years to November 2026 provides a more accurate answer. I’ve tried to summarise some of the major findings of that report in this blog.

The report summarises its findings as follows:

“Over the five years to November 2026:

  • Employment is projected to increase across all 19 broad industries
  • Employment is projected to increase across all 8 broad occupational groups
  • 9 in 10 new jobs are projected to require post-school education”

Post school education doesn’t necessarily refer to academic qualifications, some of the occupations and skills most in demand in Australia are technical/trade in nature.

60% of the jobs over the next five years are expected to come from 4 occupational groups namely:

Health care and social assistance

Accommodation and food services

Professional, scientific and technical services

Education and training

More specific reports relating to each of these sectors can be found on the National Skills Commission website.

Occupations with the largest projected employment growth are:

  • aged and disabled carers – 28% growth
  • software and application programmers – 27% growth
  • registered nurses – 13.9% growth
  • database and systems administrators and ICT security specialists – 38.9% growth
  • management and organisation analysts – 32.2% growth
  • solicitors – 21% growth
  • human resource managers – 16.3% growth
  • welfare support workers – 25.2% growth
  • accountants – 9.2% growth

That website does contain a search function where you can search for the forecast growth for a particular occupation and you can find it on the following link.

After reading the report you may come to the same conclusion that just about any occupation is required in Australia so perhaps my answer might not have been so glib.

The challenge for the Australian government will be designing an immigration policy that is capable of targeting the occupations most in demand and employing bureaucrats capable of processing visas quickly enough.

Recent events haven’t inspired confidence in this regard.

Take the skilled independent visa for example. This visa doesn’t require applicants to have offers of employment and is points tested. The points required or pass mark very much depends upon the annual quota of places available for these visas which was cut from 44,984 places in 2013/2014 to just 6500 in the 2020/2021 immigration year. It’s been increased in the current year to 16,500 and rumoured to increase further but the reason it was so drastically cut wasn’t because of any flaws with this particular visa but rather for political considerations, incorrectly blaming the visa for too many immigrants increasing property prices and increasing congestion in major cities. That old chestnut.

Roll on 2022 and we have massive skill shortages (well what did they expect after injecting massive amounts of money into the economy to stave off the repercussions of Covid 19 and having a net migrant loss of 88,000 people during 2020/2021).

As far as processing times are concerned, these too have languished, largely because the government didn’t want to approve overseas skilled permanent resident visas during Covid 19 because they would have increased pressure on quarantine facilities. As a result the government diverted resources from visa processing to border control.

Shortsighted – yes. Everyone (apart from those in government) could have foreseen that there would be a massive backlog of skilled visas awaiting processing whilst Australia is suffering its worst skill shortage on record.

I understand that more resources are being allocated to processing the backlog of visas and I hope that we return to a time when an independent visa was processed within four months (it doesn’t seem that long ago).

Whether the government can devise an immigration policy adept at sourcing needed skills and processing them fast enough to be competitive in the international quest for skills remains to be seen, but what is encouraging is at last a recognition with the new Labor government that skilled migrants in a vast array of occupations are required, and that when they apply the visas need to be processed in a timeframe to remain as a competitive player in the global skills acquisition market.

I am the quintessential optimist, the guy who sees the migration cup as half full and hopes that with this new government things will be different. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Post


      There are a number of requirements that have to be satisfied but essentially you need to be internationally recognised with a record of achievement and be nominated by an Australian citizen or Australian organisation that has a national reputation in the same field as you. If you think that this applies please email me directly on

  1. Australia is apparently in need of teachers however they don’t make the process very easy, and it feels like a money making scheme, specifically the IELTS English exams. The fact that teachers have to write the exam on average 4 times just to acquire the scores needed, puts people off!

    1. Post

      Hi Nicky

      I think Australia is right in having stringent English-language requirements for teachers but I am aware of frustrations on the part of teachers regarding the academic version of the IELTS test. My suggestion is to involve an IELTS tutor to help prepare for the exam and if a candidate misses out on the by a small margin for example .5 on the speaking or writing modules I always suggest applying for a remark because a number of my clients have received positive outcomes on remarks.

  2. Morning, I have a question, my grandfather was born in Australia is there any option or way for me to qualify for a visa etc ?

    1. Post

      Hi Craig

      The short answer to your question is no, not directly.

      Essentially if your father obtained citizenship by descent, he would have needed to spent two years in Australia in order to create options for you to obtain citizenship via descent.

  3. I’m a home based carer from Zimbabwe based in Cape town South Africa with certificate in caring. How do I apply.

    1. Post


      The occupation of carer isn’t upon the list of occupations suitable for temporary skill shortages visa subclass 482 which is essentially a work visa but requires an offer of skilled employment. Please read my comments posted above relating to DANA occupations.

  4. Good day,
    Please advise what is the cut off age to immigrate from South Africa. My husband has a Degree in Business Management and work for international companies like Defy (Manufacturing) as a General Manager in Ladysmith and Ladysmith Leathers (Automotive industry)

    1. Post


      There is no age limit on temporary visas such as the temporary skill shortage visa subclass 482 but this is just a temporary visa. It doesn’t confer resident visa status. To qualify for permanent residence under the employer nomination scheme subclass 186 there is an age limit of 45 for primary applicant but exceptions can be granted to those people earning the high income threshold (which is currently set at AU$162,000 plus superannuation) and work for the employer for a period of three years as the primary applicant on a subclass 482 visa. If you husband obtains a suitable offer of employment as a general manager he should be earning in excess of this amount.

  5. I am a teacher of mathematics majors in mathematics and chemistry. I have 29 years of teaching Mathematics. Can I get a work permit to teach in Australia.

    1. Post


      If you want a work permit to teach in Australia you are going to need to obtain an offer of skilled employment but prior to that you are going to need to sit and pass the academic version of the IELTS test and obtain teacher registration with the relevant State/Territory government.

  6. So my fiance got sponsorship as an Election for a reputable company in Darwin and we’ve been waiting 5 months now for our Visas to be processed, yet on the daily I’m seeing people with the same skill getting their visas some within a month…
    Just feel bad for he’s employer who has to wait for him and keep he’s post open.

    1. Post


      I understand how frustrating this must be.

      The Department does follow processing protocols with priority given to those occupations on the priority skilled occupations list however I Would suggest that your fiancé’s employer contacts his/her Member of Parliament and raises this issue with their representative.

  7. Its great news but it seems very hard to get employed in Australia especially if you are under qualified or unskilled. We all love to work in Australia for new opportunities and more skills that can be obtained from your country. Is there any chance that we can get sponsored?

    1. Post


      If your occupation isn’t suitable for a temporary skill shortages visa subclass 482 it may be suitable for one of the occupations on one of the designated area migration agreement (DAMA) lists.

      You can find out more information regarding these lists of occupations on the Department’s website.