Skilled Occupations List vs. Occupational Ceilings

Skilled Occupations List 2012-2013With the first occupation ceiling of the year being reached (Chemical and Materials Engineers), we thought it would be interesting to list the occupational groups which are most quickly reaching the occupational ceiling in 2012 – 2013. Australia’s Skilled Occupations List (SOL) contains roughly 800 professions (Schedule 1 & 2), some of which are easier to fill than others.

The figures listed in the table below contain the most up-to-date statistics provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). In order from the highest percentage reached (far right column) the table below clearly illustrates which occupations are fastest reaching the occupational ceiling (as at 28/11/2012). It’s interesting to note that the top 7 places are dominated by engineering and IT related occupations. Further down the line, medical and corporate related occupations seem to follow suit.

Download the Skilled Occupations List 2012 – Schedule 1 & 2 (pdf)

We’ve concluded that there are three main possible reasons for this:

  1. These occupational groups have a high number of applicants
  2. Certain occupations are more competitive than others (candidates score highly in the points test)
  3. Some occupations in Australia are more appealing for migrants i.e. salary / lifestyle

Without a publication by the Department of Immigration it’s difficult to pin-point exactly what is happening, however, with average salary information being widely available we decided to take a look at this aspect of things.

Updated information about annual occupation ceilings has been moved to the monthly SkillSelect blog post. Click here to view latest SkillSelect update
Description Ceiling Invitations To Date
Chemical and Materials Engineers 120 103 85.83%
ICT Business and Systems Analysts 1800 966 53.67%
Electronics Engineers 480 228 47.50%
Telecommunications Engineering Professionals 480 216 45.00%
Software and Applications Programmers 5160 1690 32.75%
Other Engineering Professionals 540 174 32.22%
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 1620 379 23.40%
Other Medical Practitioners 780 133 17.05%
Civil Engineering Professionals 2640 406 15.38%
Computer Network Professionals 1740 242 13.91%
Dental Practitioners 720 91 12.64%
Accountants 10440 1296 12.41%
Electrical Engineers 1260 140 11.11%
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 960 104 10.83%
Generalist Medical Practitioners 3000 238 7.93%
Mining Engineers 600 42 7.00%
Pharmacists 1380 80 5.80%
Occupational Therapists 720 37 5.14%
Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists 2400 122 5.08%
Architects and Landscape Architects 1500 55 3.67%
Social Workers 1260 46 3.65%
Registered Nurses 13380 465 3.48%
Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers 1800 53 2.94%
Secondary School Teachers 7020 174 2.48%
Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers 1680 35 2.08%

* Top 25 skilled occupation groups approaching the occupational ceiling 2012 – 2013

In 2011 – 2012 we know that the total number of migrants to Australia reached about 185,000, with 125,850 visa places being offered to skilled migrants. This accounts for roughly 68% of Net Overseas Migration (NOM). We also know that in comparison to 2010 – 2011, the skilled migration stream increased by just over 10%, increasing the total number of skilled migrants for that year by 12,000. This is a clear indication that skilled migration is on the up.

According to the Migration Program Statistics the Australian Government has planned on 129,250 skilled migrants entering the country during 2012 – 2013. If this figure is reached, there will be an increase of 2.7% to the year prior.

How the Government aims to reach those figures is anyone’s guess, considering that the total number of invitations issued under SkillSelect this year has only reached around 15,000. Furthermore, with some occupations fast approaching the occupational ceiling it certainly looks like an uphill battle to reach this year’s target.

Nevertheless, taking into account everything listed above, we would like to find out whether higher potential earnings could be a driving force behind certain occupations reaching the ceiling before others.

Skilled Occupations List Salaries Comparison

Nominating a few occupations from the Skilled Occupations List, we’ve used data from PayScale (one of the leading salary comparison resources) to establish average salaries for a number of occupations in the United States, United Kingdom, India and Australia.

The table below shows that salaries in Australia are very competitive. According to the figures provided by PayScale, Australia lost out in 3 of 12 salary comparisons, however when taking a closer look you will notice that in most cases the margin is very slim.

Occupations on the Skilled Occupations List – Top Half

Sector US UK India Australia
Accountant $41,842 $52,208 $12,982 $67,654
Chemical Engineer $67,587 $57,266 $8,564 $66,394
Construction Project Manager $70,751 $63,000 $12,807 $119,187
Dentist (General) $116,580 $87,227 $4,052 $85,069
Developer Programmer $61,924 $45,704 $5,858 $66,113
General Medical Practitioner $95,535 $101,389 $5,410 $95,488
Electrical Engineer $64,999 $45,797 $5,905 $75,318
Information Technology Consultant $69,774 $61,997 $12,485 $81,117
Mechanical Engineer $60,286 $44,860 $6,111 $73,130
Secondary School Teacher $39,486 $38,137 $3,456 $59,745
Systems Analyst $59,223 $48,726 $12,021 $69,634
Physiotherapist $53,165 $42,595 $2,562 $62,823

* Statistics are for information purposes only
** Professions have been selected at random from the Skilled Occupations List (SOL)
*** All currencies converted to Australian Dollars (AUD) on date of publishing

Occupations on the Skilled Occupations List – Bottom Half

In order to balance the overview of average salaries in various occupations, we’ve picked a further 12 occupations listed in the Skilled Occupations List, which were found in the bottom half of list of occupational groups which are approaching the ceiling. The table below shows that occupations which aren’t filling quickly still offer a good opportunities for migrants.

Sector US UK India Australia
Carpenter $38,232 $33,981 n/a $53,953
Driving Instructor $29,106 $42,721 n/a $53,080
Electrician $42,455 $35,947 $2,154 $59,948
Hairdresser $28,259 $21,050 $1,604 $39,862
Head Chef $36,373 $35,679 $7,056 $53,974
Human Resources Consultant $64,106 $58,265 $6,089 $70,848
Information Technology Manager $74,116 $59,492 $16,027 $95,140
Insurance Broker $52,291 $39,233 $13,005 $51,375
Journalist $30,684 $36,374 $4,183 $47,944
Office Manager $36,211 $35,550 $3,921 $53,055
Police Officer $45,088 $47,422 n/a $71,428
Retail Manager $38,050 $36,261 $9,990 $47,766

* Statistics are for information purposes only
** Professions have been selected at random from the Skilled Occupations List (SOL)
*** All currencies converted to Australian Dollars (AUD) on date of publishing

Of course a better salary alone isn’t likely to lead to mass migration as we aren’t taking into account living costs and other factors that may influence a candidate’s decision. However, when looking at earning capacity/potential alone, the ball does seem to swing in Australia’s favour.

So we’ve ruled out that certain occupations are more attractive for migrants, as many of the occupational groups we looked at offer very competitive average salaries in Australia. Combined with an improved lifestyle, this is likely to be a very strong pull factor, especially in the current economic climate. Until we are able to analyse statistics published by the Department of Immigration we won’t be able to reach a conclusion, however as soon as the data is released we will update this page.

Interested in migrating? Get started by completing the online skilled visa assessment.
  1. oscar d. bacanioscar d. bacani04-25-2013

    im applying electrician

  2. Patrick MutuaPatrick Mutua05-03-2013

    I am graduate registered Nurse with ten years experience in clinical and community health nursing in Kenya, I need to be attached to one of the hospitals in Australia to enable me undergo an induction training for three to six months hence register with the Australian Nursing and midwifery Council, the purpose of this mail is to request your organization to link me with an organization that would help me get an attachment for that period, looking forward to your assistance…