Surveyors and Spatial Scientists
Surveyors and Spatial Scientists plan, direct and conduct survey work to determine and delineate boundaries and features of tracts of land, marine floors and underground works, prepare and revise maps, charts and other geographic products, and analyse, present and maintain geographical information about locations in space and time.
designing and compiling map manuscripts using digital and graphical source material, including aerial photographs, satellite imagery, survey documents, existing maps and records, reports and statistics
advising Surveyors and other professionals on the data requirements for map production, and on the aesthetic, technical and economic considerations of scales, details to be illustrated, place names and reproduction techniques
supervising and coordinating the work of cartographic technicians in the production and reproduction of maps
determining the position of points of interest on the earth's surface including marine floors, and preparing the final product data in digital form
supervising the preparation of plans, maps, charts and drawings to give pictorial representations and managing automated spatial information systems
undertaking research and development of surveying and photogrammetric measurement systems, cadastral systems and land information systems
planning and designing land subdivision projects and negotiating details with local governments and other authorities
advising Architects, Engineering Professionals, environmental and other scientists or other relevant professionals on the technical requirements of surveying, mapping and spatial information systems
compiling and evaluating data, interpreting codes of practice, and writing reports concerning survey measurement, land use and tenure
preparing site plans and survey reports required for conveyancing and land ownership matters
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
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 16,800 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 Surveyors and Spatial Scientists 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 45 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,907 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,672
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,080
Median hourly earnings are $50, this is 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. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. 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||Surveyors and Spatial Scientists||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.
Most Surveyors and Spatial Scientists work in the Professional, scientific and technical services industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Surveyors and Spatial Scientists||All Jobs Average|
Around 60% of Surveyors and Spatial Scientists live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.
Western Australia has a large share of employment relative to its 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 Surveyors and Spatial Scientists 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 13% of the workforce. This is 35 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||Surveyors and Spatial Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.6||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 formal qualification in a relevant field is usually needed to work as a Surveyor or Spatial Scientist. University and Vocational Education and Training (VET) are both common study pathways.
- 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 Construction, Plumbing and Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Surveyors and Spatial Scientists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||11.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.8||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 Surveyors and Spatial Scientists who work well in a team, are motivated and organised.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Using maths to solve problems.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
54%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
52%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
48%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
41%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
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.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
70%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
68%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
67%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
67%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
66%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
64%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
62%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.
57%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
52%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
48%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
45%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
42%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
See details that are far away.
Communicate by speaking.
63%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Listen to and understand what people say.
57%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Read and understand written information.
55%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Write in a way that people can understand.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
82%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
82%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
80%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
79%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
75%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
75%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
74%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
74%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
74%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
73%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
71%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
69%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
69%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
69%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
68%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
68%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
65%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
64%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
64%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
63%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
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.
99%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Talk on the telephone.
Use electronic mail.
Talk with people face-to-face.
92%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
86%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Work with people in a group or team.
84%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
84%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
82%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
81%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
81%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
81%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
79%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
79%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
Work to strict deadlines.
76%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
75%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
74%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
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, 17-1022.00 - Surveyors.
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.