Environmental Scientists study, develop, implement and advise on policies and plans for managing and protecting the environment, flora, fauna and other natural resources.
evaluating habitat, wildlife and fisheries needs, and formulating shortand long-term management goals and objectives
enforcing laws and regulations to conserve and protect fish and wildlife
carrying out environmental impact assessments for a wide range of development projects
proposing solutions to address negative environmental impact
studying the effects of factors, such as terrain, altitude, climatic and environmental change, sources of nutrition, predators and the impacts of humans, on animal and plant life
studying and analysing pollution, atmospheric conditions, demographic characteristics, ecology, mineral, soil and water samples
developing conservation and management policies for biological resources, such as fish populations and forests, and establishing standards and developing approaches for the control of pollution and the rehabilitation of areas disturbed by activities such as mining, timber felling and overgrazing
implementing policies and organising activities in designated parks and other areas to conserve and protect natural and cultural heritage
participating in management planning by providing environmental information and making inventories of plants, animals and items of cultural and heritage significance
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers in this occupation is likely to remain stable.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 76% of people employed as Environmental Scientists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 10 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 43 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $2,099 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,372
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,515
Median hourly earnings are $56, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Environmental Scientists||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Environmental Scientists work in industries like:
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Public administration and safety
- Arts and recreation services
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Environmental Scientists||All Jobs Average|
Around 49% of Environmental Scientists live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Environmental Scientists is 39 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 41% of the workforce. This is 7 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Environmental Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.6||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in a relevant field is usually needed to work as an Environmental Scientist. Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management and Sustainability VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Environmental Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||27.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||3.2||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Environmental Scientists who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking to others.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Using maths to solve problems.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
57%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
55%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
54%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
48%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Looking for ways to help people.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
62%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
58%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
55%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
51%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
49%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
47%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
46%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
39%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
37%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
28%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
52%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
52%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
See details that are far away.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Do two or more things at the same time.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
78%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
78%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
77%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
77%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
74%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
73%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
72%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
71%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
70%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
69%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
66%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
64%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
63%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
62%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
62%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
62%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
61%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
56%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
53%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
47%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Use electronic mail.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
89%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work with people in a group or team.
85%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
84%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
81%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
80%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
78%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
78%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
78%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
75%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
72%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work to strict deadlines.
66%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
59%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
58%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-2041.00 - Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.