Chemists study the chemical and physical properties of substances, and develop and monitor chemical processes and production.
Specialisations: Analytical Chemist, Industrial Chemist.
A bachelor degree in science majoring in chemistry is needed to work as a Chemist. Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Conducts experiments and tests to identify the chemical composition and reactive properties of natural substances and processed materials.
Analyses and conducts research to develop theories, techniques and processes, and tests the reliability of outcomes under different conditions.
Develops practical applications of experimental and research findings.
JSA 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, Chemists, and Food and Wine Scientists, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 83% of people employed as Chemists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 17 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 42 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.
Chemists work in industries like:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Chemists||All Jobs Average|
Around 78% of Chemists live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria has a large share of employment relative to its 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.
Age and gender
The median age of Chemists is 40 years. This is the same as the all jobs average.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 40% of the workforce. This is 8 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||Chemists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||4.1||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 science majoring in chemistry is needed to work as a Chemist. 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.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Chemists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||30.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.4||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 Chemists, and Food and Wine Scientists who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Using maths to solve problems.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
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.
Talking to others.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Teaching people how to do something.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
46%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
45%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
55%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
55%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
54%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
53%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
51%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
39%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
35%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
35%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
28%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
25%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
20%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
18%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 general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
59%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
59%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
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.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
48%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
77%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
74%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
69%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
69%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
69%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
68%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
68%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
67%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
66%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
66%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
65%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
64%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
64%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
64%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
63%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
57%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
55%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
55%Working with electronic equipment
Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing electronic devices and equipment.
50%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
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.
98%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Use electronic mail.
94%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Talk with people face-to-face.
92%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Work near dangers like high voltage electricity, flammable material, explosives or chemicals.
84%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk on the telephone.
82%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
Work with people in a group or team.
80%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work to strict deadlines.
77%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
75%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
74%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
69%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
69%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
67%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
67%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
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, 19-2031.00 - Chemists.
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.