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Job security is great for principals, police, priests and (some) CEOs—but journalists, taxi drivers, scientists and (other) CEOs feel most unstable

Source: Nationwide productivity sample of 23,486 Australians 14+ in paid employment conducted over 2013-2015 as part of Roy Morgan Single Source. * Occupations are from ANZSCO Unit Groups. Unit Groups with sample n <50 during the period have been excluded.

New research from Roy Morgan shows that school principals and primary, secondary and special education teachers, police, office managers, ministers of religion, and CEOs are among the most likely to rate their job security as ‘very good’—but occupations with the worst job security, according to those in-the-know, include journalists, vocational education teachers, housekeepers, automobile drivers, scientists, and (again) CEOs. These are the top-line findings of a major study of over 20,000 Australians about their employment.

Roy Morgan’s latest unemployment figures show there are currently an estimated 11,522,000 employed Australians (aged 14+). Over the three years to December 2015, 17% of people in paid employment rated their job security as ‘very good’, and 6% as ‘very poor’. At these extreme ends of the scale lie a range of jobs in ANZSCO Unit Groups: 54% of school principals agree their job security is ‘very good’, as do 40% of CEOs and Managing Directors, 36% of police, and 29% of ministers of religion. Three categories of teachers are among the most secure: Special Education (28%), Primary School (27%), and Secondary School (25%).

Jobs that employees are at least three times more likely than average to say have ‘very poor’ security are Vocational Education Teachers (22%), Journalists and Other Writers (21%), and Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists (18%). And even though 4 in 10 CEOs and Managing Directors say job security is very good, another 15% say it’s very poor—slightly worse than the 14% of Housekeepers.

Jobs with ‘Very Poor’ or ‘Very Good’ job security*

Source: Nationwide productivity sample of 23,548 Australians 14+ in paid employment conducted over 2013-2015 as part of Roy Morgan Single Source. * Occupations are from ANZSCO Unit Groups. Unit Groups with sample n <50 during the period have been excluded. 

13% of Medical Laboratory Scientists and Environmental Scientists have very poor job security, and Automobile Drivers (which mostly means Taxi Drivers) are twice as likely as the average worker to say job security is very poor (12%).

As well as the 17% of Australians in paid employment from 2012 to 2015 who said job security is ‘Very Good’, another 34% said it is ‘Good’ – meaning a sight majority of workers feel secure overall (51%). On top of the 6% with ‘Very Poor security, a further 11% have ‘Poor’, for a combined 17% of workers feeling insecure in their employment. 

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With most major news media, including Fairfax, News Corp and ABC, cutting back their editorial divisions over the period, it’s no surprise that journalists are among the most insecure about their future employment in the current organisation. Perhaps similarly affected by digital disruption and fragmentation across new entrants, Automobile Drivers such as taxi drivers are also among the most insecure.

“Those in jobs that might often rely on external funding and public policy developments are also feeling insecure, including vocational education teachers, and medical and environmental scientists. It’s interesting that those working in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) roles are also now much more likely than average to cite job security as very poor.

“Meanwhile CEOs and Managing Directors have a heightened sense of their own job security at either end of the spectrum, being among the most likely to feel very secure or very insecure.

“Roy Morgan Research has monitors the views of employed Australians for over a decade. The review covers job satisfaction and the relationship between satisfaction and employees’ perceptions of pay, recognition, security, and opportunities, as well as cultural issues such as focus on continual improvement, training, customer service, and how employees’ ideas are handled by management. The research also monitors trends in attitudes to work-life balance, and the use of paid services such as child care and home cleaning.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking more closely at how job security affects the mental health of male and female employees, and the gender gaps in satisfaction with pay, recognition, and opportunities.”  

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%