Surgeons perform surgery to correct deformities, repair injuries, prevent and treat diseases, and improve human functioning and appearance. Medical Registrars training as Surgeons are included here.
examining patients to determine the necessity of operations, estimating and explaining risks to patients, and selecting the best operational procedures
reviewing reports on patients' general physical condition, reactions to medications and medical histories
consulting with Anaesthetists regarding the correct anaesthesia for patients
performing surgical operations
examining instruments, equipment, and surgical set-up to ensure that antiseptic and aseptic methods have been followed
instructing other medical, nursing and associated staff regarding the preparation of patients and instrument and equipment requirements
prescribing post-operative care, and observing and investigating patients' progress
maintaining records of operations performed
may specialise in particular types of operations
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:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 9,200 by 2026.
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 87% of people employed as Surgeons work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 21 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 56 hours per week in their main job. This is 12 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median hourly earnings are $64, 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.
Most Surgeons work in the Health care and social assistance industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Surgeons||All Jobs Average|
Around 75% of Surgeons live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - Inner
- Melbourne - Inner East
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Brisbane Inner City
- Adelaide - Central and Hills.
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 Surgeons 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 18% of the workforce. This is 30 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||Surgeons||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||11.1||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
Medical Practitioners need to undertake further training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to become a Surgeon.
Registration with the Medical Board of Australia is 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||Surgeons||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||47.0||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.0||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 Surgeons who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and work well in a team.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
70%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
68%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Talking to others.
59%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Looking for ways to help people.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
52%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Using maths to solve problems.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
97%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
82%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.
75%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
70%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
58%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
56%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
54%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
51%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
51%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
50%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
42%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
39%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
37%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Read and understand written information.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Write in a way that people can understand.
64%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
61%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
94%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
93%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
89%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
82%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
82%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
80%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
78%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
77%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
77%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
74%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
70%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
70%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
68%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
67%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
66%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
65%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
65%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
62%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
62%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 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 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.
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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
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.
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.
99%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Talk with people face-to-face.
98%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
Talk on the telephone.
97%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
95%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
95%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work with people in a group or team.
94%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
94%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
93%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
90%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
89%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
88%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
87%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work to strict deadlines.
85%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
84%Spend time standing
Spend time standing 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, 29-1067.00 - Surgeons.