Agricultural and Forestry Scientists advise farmers, rural industries and government on aspects of farming, develop techniques for increasing productivity, and study and develop plans and policies for the management of forest areas.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually required. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed.

Tasks

  • collecting and analysing data and samples of produce, feed, soil and other factors affecting production
  • advising Farmers and Farm Managers on techniques for improving the production of crops and livestock, and alternative agricultural options
  • advising farmers on issues such as livestock and crop disease, control of pests and weeds, soil improvement, animal husbandry and feeding programs
  • studying the environmental factors affecting commercial crop production, pasture growth, animal breeding, and the growth and health of forest trees
  • studying the effects of cultivation techniques, soils, insects and plant diseases on animal, crop and forest production
  • developing procedures and techniques for solving agricultural problems and improving the efficiency of production
  • managing forest resources to maximise their long-term commercial, recreational and environmental benefits for the community
  • studying the propagation and culture of forest trees, methods for improving the growth of stock, and the effects of thinning on forest yields
  • preparing plans for reafforestation and devising efficient harvesting systems
  • investigating, planning and implementing management procedures to cope with the effects of fires, floods, droughts, soil erosion, insect pests and diseases

Job Titles

  • Agricultural Consultant or Adviser
  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Forester
  • Agricultural Consultant or Adviser

    Advises farmers, agricultural businesses, rural industries and government on the production, processing and distribution of farm products.

    Specialisations: Agricultural Extension Officer, Landcare Officer

  • Agricultural Scientist

    Studies commercial plants, animals and cultivation techniques to enhance the productivity of farms and agricultural industries.

    Specialisations: Agronomist

  • Forester

    Studies, develops and manages forest areas to maintain commercial and recreational uses, conserve flora and fauna, and protect against fire, pests and diseases.

    Specialisations: Forestry Adviser, Forestry Consultant

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,473 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    8,000
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    75.7%
  • Female Share

    24.3%
  • Full-Time Share

    90.9%

Find Vacancies

This is a small occupation employing 8000 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Moderate growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Agricultural and Forestry Scientists work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 40.3 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,473 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 42 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
20057300
20067900
20076400
20085800
20097800
20105600
20117800
20126500
20139300
20146400
20158000
20208300

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. 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.
EarningsAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings14731230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs Average
Full-time90.968.4
Part-time9.131.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)40.340.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing44.7
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services19.2
Wholesale Trade10.8
Public Administration and Safety9.4
Other Industries15.9

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs Average
NSW23.531.8
VIC26.625.5
QLD22.919.8
SA5.86.8
WA11.411.2
TAS5.62.0
NT1.01.1
ACT3.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.45.4
20-244.1-9.99.9
25-3423.7-23.423.4
35-4434.5-21.721.7
45-5420.3-21.121.1
55-5910.6-8.78.7
60-643.5-5.95.9
65 and Over3.3-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males75.7Males53.6
Females24.3Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate37.0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree39.7-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma23.3-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV0.0-18.918.9
Year 120.0-18.718.7
Years 11 & 100.0-17.717.7
Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually required. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Agricultural and Forestry Scientists who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Biology

    90% Important

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  2. English Language

    87% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  3. Mathematics

    79% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  4. Education and Training

    78% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  5. Chemistry

    72% Important

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change. Danger signs and disposal methods.

Occupational Information Network Soil and Plant Scientists Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Analyzing Data or Information

    94% Important

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  2. Processing Information

    92% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  3. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    92% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  4. Getting Information

    91% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  5. Interacting With Computers

    90% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Occupational Information Network Soil and Plant Scientists Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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