Barristers plead cases before civil, criminal and industrial courts and other tribunals.
Specialisations: Queen's Counsel, Senior Counsel.
A law degree is needed to work as a Barrister. Barristers also need to pass the Bar Examination and obtain an Australian Practising Certificate (Barrister).
receiving written information in the form of briefs and verbal instructions concerning cases from Solicitors, other specialist Legal Professionals and clients
providing advice and written opinions on points of law
conferring with clients and witnesses in preparation for court proceedings
drawing up pleadings, affidavits and other court documents
researching statutes and previous court decisions relevant to cases
outlining the facts to the court, calling and questioning witnesses, and making addresses to the court to argue a client's case
providing opinion on complex legal issues
may draw up or settle documents
The NSC 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:
- is expected to grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 11,100 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission 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 National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 85% of people employed as Barristers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 19 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 50 hours per week in their main job. This is 6 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $2,734 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $2,318
- 1 in 4 earn more than $3,322
Median hourly earnings are $72, this is much 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. 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||Barristers||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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Barristers||All Jobs Average|
Around 85% of Barristers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria and New South Wales have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - Inner
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Sydney - Eastern Suburbs
- Sydney - City and Inner South
- Brisbane Inner City.
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 Barristers is 46 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 32% of the workforce. This is 16 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||Barristers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||9.4||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 law degree is needed to work as a Barrister. Barristers also need to pass the Bar Examination and obtain an Australian Practising Certificate (Barrister).
Registration or licencing may be required.
- 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||Barristers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||33.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.2||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 Barristers with good people skills who are trustworthy and responsible.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
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.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
61%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
57%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Looking for ways to help people.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
48%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
43%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.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
78%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
74%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
65%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
62%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
58%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
50%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
47%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
45%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
33%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
31%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
31%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
25%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
24%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
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.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
55%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.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
43%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
See details that are far away.
Do two or more things at the same time.
37%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
90%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
85%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
84%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
79%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
79%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
78%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
77%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
76%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
74%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
73%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
67%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
66%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
66%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
62%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
61%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
59%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
55%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
51%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
45%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.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
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.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
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.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
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.
Use electronic mail.
100%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
96%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
96%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
94%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
94%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
92%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
91%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
91%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work to strict deadlines.
84%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
Work with people in a group or team.
82%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
82%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
82%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
79%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
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The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 23-1011.00 - Lawyers.