Agricultural and Forestry Scientists
Agricultural and Forestry Scientists advise farmers, rural industries and government on aspects of farming, develop techniques for increasing productivity, and study and develop plans and policies for the management of forest areas.
collecting and analysing data and samples of produce, feed, soil and other factors affecting production
advising Farmers and Farm Managers on techniques for improving the production of crops and livestock, and alternative agricultural options
advising farmers on issues such as livestock and crop disease, control of pests and weeds, soil improvement, animal husbandry and feeding programs
studying the environmental factors affecting commercial crop production, pasture growth, animal breeding, and the growth and health of forest trees
studying the effects of cultivation techniques, soils, insects and plant diseases on animal, crop and forest production
developing procedures and techniques for solving agricultural problems and improving the efficiency of production
managing forest resources to maximise their long-term commercial, recreational and environmental benefits for the community
studying the propagation and culture of forest trees, methods for improving the growth of stock, and the effects of thinning on forest yields
preparing plans for reafforestation and devising efficient harvesting systems
investigating, planning and implementing management procedures to cope with the effects of fires, floods, droughts, soil erosion, insect pests and diseases
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 81% of people employed as Agricultural and Forestry Scientists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 15 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 45 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than two-thirds of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $2,178 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $2,018
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,462
Median hourly earnings are $60, 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||Agricultural and Forestry 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.
Agricultural and Forestry Scientists work in industries like:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Public administration and safety
- Education and training.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Agricultural and Forestry Scientists||All Jobs Average|
Around 75% of Agricultural and Forestry Scientists live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Tasmania and Western Australia have a large share of employment relative to their 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 Agricultural and Forestry Scientists is 44 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 26% of the workforce. This is 22 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||Agricultural and Forestry Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||6.8||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 agricultural science, or a science degree with an agriculture major is usually needed to work as an Agricultural or Forestry Scientist. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Agricultural and Forestry Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||25.2||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||4.0||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 Agricultural and Forestry 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.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
61%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
57%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Using maths to solve problems.
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.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
48%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Teaching people how to do something.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
39%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
78%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
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.
58%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
56%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
53%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
51%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
47%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
45%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
41%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
37%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
36%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
29%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.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
57%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
46%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
46%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
86%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
82%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
82%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
82%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
79%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
79%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
75%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
75%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
74%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
71%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
70%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
69%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
68%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
67%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
64%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
62%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
61%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
60%Managing payments and orders
Monitoring and controlling resources and the spending of money.
56%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.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
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 with people face-to-face.
90%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Talk on the telephone.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
82%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
82%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Work with people in a group or team.
78%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
74%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
72%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
Work to strict deadlines.
71%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
70%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
69%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
69%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
69%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
69%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
69%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
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, 19-1013.00 - Soil and Plant Scientists.
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.