Physicists (including Astronomers)

ANZSCO ID 234914

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
1,300
Future Growth
N/A
Weekly Earnings
N/A
Full-Time Share
88%
Female Share
24%
Average age
41

Summary

Physicists (including Astronomers) study matter, space, time, energy, forces and fields and the interrelationship between these physical phenomena to further understand the laws governing the behaviour of the universe, and seek to apply these laws to solve practical problems and discover new information about the earth and the universe.

Specialisations: Astronomer, Medical Physicist.

A bachelor degree in science majoring in physics or nanotechnology is needed to work as a Physicist (including Astronomer). Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.

Tasks

  • Develops analytical methodologies and techniques to investigate the structure and properties of matter, the relationships between matter and energy, and other physical phenomena.

  • Tests the reliability of these methodologies and techniques by performing tests and experiments under various conditions.

  • Prepares scientific papers and reports, or supervises their preparation.

  • Supervises and co-ordinates the work of technicians and technologists.

  • May specialise in one or more branches of physics such as electrical, luminescent, mechanical, magnetic, radioactive, molecular, nuclear, ionospheric, atmospheric physics and signal analysis.


Outlook

Employment Outlook

The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals, under the outlook section.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 88% of people employed as Physicists (including Astronomers) work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 22 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).

    Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.


Industries

Main industries

1
Public Administration and Safety
30.7%
2
Health Care and Social Assistance
28.1%
3
Education and Training
19.3%
4
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
16.6%
5
Other industries
2.3%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

27.9% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

24.3% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

10.2% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

12.9% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

8.1% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

1.3% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

1.4% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

14.0% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Physicists (including Astronomers) All Jobs Average
NSW 27.9 31.6
VIC 24.3 25.6
QLD 10.2 20.0
SA 12.9 7.0
WA 8.1 10.8
TAS 1.3 2.0
NT 1.4 1.0
ACT 14.0 1.9


  • Around 85% of Physicists (including Astronomers) live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.

    The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.

    The regions with the largest share of workers are:

    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.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
41
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
24%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Physicists (including Astronomers) is 41 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 24% of the workforce. This is 24 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)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Physicists (including Astronomers) All Jobs Average
15-19 0.0 5.0
20-24 1.6 9.3
25-34 27.9 22.9
35-44 29.1 22.0
45-54 24.1 21.6
55-59 8.4 9.0
60-64 5.2 6.0
65 and Over 3.8 4.2
Median Age 41 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

A bachelor degree in science majoring in physics or nanotechnology is needed to work as a Physicist (including Astronomer). Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.

Visit

  • Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
  • ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

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.
Type of Qualification Physicists (including Astronomers) All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 74.5 10.1
Bachelor degree 19.8 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 1.9 11.6
Certificate III/IV 1.1 21.1
Year 12 2.1 18.1
Year 11 0.0 4.8
Year 10 and below 0.6 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 Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 86%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 84%

    Science

    Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

  • 82%

    Mathematics

    Using maths to solve problems.

  • 80%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 75%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 71%

    Learning strategies

    Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.

  • 70%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 70%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 68%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 68%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 66%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 64%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 63%

    Programming

    Writing computer programs.

  • 59%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 59%

    Systems analysis

    Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.

  • 55%

    Systems evaluation

    Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.

  • 54%

    Persuasion

    Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.

  • 52%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 50%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 46%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 95%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 92%

    Physics

    The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

  • 78%

    Engineering and technology

    Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  • 76%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 74%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 54%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 51%

    Mechanical

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  • 47%

    Communications and media

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.

  • 46%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  • 46%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 46%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 45%

    Chemistry

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

  • 44%

    Technical design

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  • 43%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

  • 39%

    Biology

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  • 37%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 35%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 35%

    Psychology

    Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

  • 26%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 19%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 88%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 86%

    Mathematics

    Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.

  • 86%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 84%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 80%

    Working with numbers

    Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.

  • 80%

    Written expression

    Write in a way that people can understand.

  • 79%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 79%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 79%

    Originality

    Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.

  • 75%

    Brainstorming

    Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.

  • 73%

    Categorising

    Come up with different ways of grouping things.

  • 73%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 73%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 71%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 64%

    Visualization

    Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.

  • 61%

    Speed of recognition

    Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

  • 57%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 57%

    Speech recognition

    Identify and understand the speech of another person.

  • 55%

    Flexibility of closure

    See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.

  • 48%

    Perceptual speed

    Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 91%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 88%

    Collecting and organising information

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  • 88%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 86%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 84%

    Making sense of information and ideas

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  • 83%

    Explaining things to people

    Helping people to understand and use information.

  • 82%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 76%

    Giving expert advice

    Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.

  • 74%

    Communicating with the public

    Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 73%

    Looking for changes over time

    Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  • 73%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 72%

    Estimating amounts, costs and resources

    Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.

  • 72%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 70%

    Coming up with systems and processes

    Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.

  • 69%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 69%

    Scheduling work and activities

    Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

  • 69%

    Working with computers

    Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  • 68%

    Coordinating the work of a team

    Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.

  • 64%

    Documenting or recording information

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  • 59%

    Checking compliance with standards

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.


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

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 100%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 57%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

  • 48%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 43%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 29%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 14%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 90%

    Recognition

    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.

  • 88%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 86%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 86%

    Independence

    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.

  • 52%

    Support

    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.

  • 38%

    Relationships

    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.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 95%

    Electronic mail

    Use electronic mail.

  • 94%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 92%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

  • 91%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 91%

    Indoors, heat controlled

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  • 90%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 84%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  • 82%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 80%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 79%

    Spend time sitting

    Spend time sitting at work.

  • 74%

    Lead or coordinate a team

    Lead others to do work activities.

  • 71%

    Impact of decisions

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

  • 70%

    Letters and memos

    Write letters and memos.

  • 70%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 67%

    Responsible for outcomes

    Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.

  • 65%

    Contact with the public

    Work with customers or the public.

  • 64%

    Competition

    Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.

  • 61%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 57%

    Physically close to people

    Work physically close to other people.

  • 56%

    Repeating same tasks

    Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.

Occupational Information Network
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, 19-2012.00 - Physicists.


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