Private Investigators conduct investigations for clients and prepare evidence for court proceedings.
Also known as: Private Inquiry Agent.
A certificate III or IV in investigative services is usually needed to work as a Private Investigator.
Investigates shoplifting, theft, dishonesty or other undesirable conduct.
Makes inquiries concerning property and seeks, obtains or supplies information pertaining to the personal character, financial position, occupation or whereabouts of any person.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
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, Security Officers and Guards, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 59% of people employed as Private Investigators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 7 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 46 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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Private Investigators||All Jobs Average|
Around 70% of Private Investigators live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
New South Wales and Victoria 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 Private Investigators is 49 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 28% of the workforce. This is 20 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||Private Investigators||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||11.4||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 certificate III or IV in investigative services is usually needed to work as a Private Investigator.
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.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Property Services and Public Sector VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Private Investigators||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||7.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||8.8||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 Security Officers and Guards who can connect with others, are trustworthy, responsible and reliable.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
43%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
41%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
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.
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.
29%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.
68%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
60%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
58%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
51%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
50%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
47%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
40%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
40%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
39%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
33%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
31%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
30%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
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.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
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.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
50%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
48%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.
See details that are far away.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
39%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Do two or more things at the same time.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
73%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
68%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
67%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
67%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
66%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
66%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
65%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
63%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
62%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
61%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
61%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
60%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
60%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
60%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
58%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
49%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
49%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
48%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
41%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
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.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
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.
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.
Talk on the telephone.
Use electronic mail.
95%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
92%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
87%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work to strict deadlines.
84%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
84%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Talk with people face-to-face.
83%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
80%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
78%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
77%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
69%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
Work with people in a group or team.
65%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
64%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
62%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
61%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
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, 33-9021.00 - Private Detectives and Investigators.