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This page provides information and data on the Racing industry. The Racing industry can be described as having two sectors:

  • Equine
  • Canine.

The Racing industry in Australia incorporates a diverse range of businesses including horse breeding/farming, horse racing (thoroughbred and harness), greyhound racing, and management of the facilities used specifically for those activities.

In 2013–14, horse and greyhound racing contributed approximately $1.5 billion to the Australian Gross Domestic Product. Further value-added income for the economy is generated by breeding, horse sales, prize money and wagering.

Industry figures indicate there are 79,631 Racehorse Owners, 18,502 Trainers, Jockeys and Track Riders, 30,000 registered greyhound racing participants and a number of volunteers and hobbyists involved in the industry. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2016 the industry included 3,459 horse farms and 1,908 racing businesses collectively employing 13,061 people.

The Racing industry has the following regulated occupations:

  • Jockeys
  • Owners
  • Trainers
  • Track Work Riders
  • Harness Drivers
  • Breeders
  • Stud Managers
  • Stablehands
  • Kennelhands.

All occupations must have Racing industry licences, which are coordinated through the industry’s peak bodies. Nationally recognised training for the Racing industry is delivered under the RGR08 Racing Training Package.

Visit the following pages for information on other Sport, Fitness and Recreation sectors and Agriculture sectors. 

Information sourced from the Racing IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level for the Horse and Dog Racing Activities industry fluctuated between 2000 and 2018. In 2018 the employment level was around 11,400 and is expected to remain similar till 2023.

Looking at the top occupations in the Horse and Dog Racing Activities industry, 23.7% of the workforce is employed as Livestock Farm Workers. Numbers employed in this occupation are projected to decrease by 2023.A further 18.6% of the workforce is employed as Animal Attendants and Trainers, and employment in this occupation is projected to grow by 12.7% by 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 1,400 program enrolments in Racing-related qualifications during 2017, and just under 340 completions. Program enrolments had a sharp rise between 2014 and 2015 but decreased between 2015 and 2017. After a sharp fall between 2014 and 2015, program completions remained relatively stable between 2015 and 2017.

During 2017, just over half of enrolments (51%) were in certificate III level qualifications, with a further 31% in certificate IV level qualifications. The most common areas of training were Stablehand (51%) and Racehorse Training (20%). The most common intended occupations for qualifications in this sector were Horse Trainer, followed by Stablehand.

For enrolments during 2017, more training in the Racing sector was delivered by private training providers (60%) than TAFE institutes (34%). Over 80% of subjects for Racing-related qualifications were Commonwealth and state funded in 2017. Students who enrolled in 2017 were mainly from Victoria (57%) and New South Wales (25%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions in this sector fell overall between 2010 and 2017. Commencements and completions have remained fairly stable over the last two years with 224 and 106 respectively in 2017. The majority of apprenticeships or traineeships in this sector have an intended occupation of Horse Trainer (55%) or Jockey (37%). New South Wales reported 46% of apprenticeship training, with 24% in Victoria.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Racing IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast identifies a number of factors which provide challenges and opportunities for the Racing industry, and have implications for the industry’s workforce. These include:

  • The industry workforce is aging. The proportion of employees in each age group category over 50-years-old increased by 2% in 2016 when compared with 2006.
  • Demand for high-quality and superior bloodline foals from the Racing industry through Trainers and Racehorse Owners is a key driver for the sale of racehorses, breeding and stud horses. Participants in the industry believe it remains resilient, despite a decline in foal numbers over the last five years.
  • The industry is subject to market forces which drive event attendance and wagering. Competition from other sports and other forms of gambling can affect attendances at racing events and the number of consumers who bet on horse races and greyhound races, and the industry is constantly challenged to find ways to increase attendance and consumption.
  • Animal welfare practices remain a present challenge for the industry. Positive results in re-homing programs for retired racing animals have been achieved. More opportunities exist for the industry to develop animal welfare measures and practices, provide more transparency and strengthen communication to the wider community.
  • Initiatives to modernise practices in relation to the contractual relationship between owners and trainers, integrity of sales and social and workplace obligations have included: consideration in some areas of the introduction of a Security for Training Fees System outlining components including Standard Training Terms and Standard Joint Owner Terms; a register that will publish all the beneficial owners of a horse offered for auction; and new rules relating to anti-racial vilification and inappropriate social media.

To address the skills needs created by these challenges and opportunities, the above Skills Forecast has identified the top skill needs and priority skills for the racing industry.

The top priority industry and occupation skills include:

  • Retraining and re-educating ex-racing animals, (horses and greyhounds) to be retired and live safely outside of the racing industry
  • Race Horse breeding skills
  • Greyhound health assistant skills
  • Skills in incident management involving horses or greyhounds
  • Skills in greyhound training.

The industry priorities for generic skills include:

  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management skills
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence skills
  • Financial skills
  • Customer service/Marketing skills.

The above priorities and skills needs are supported by the Western Australian FutureNow Racing and Equine Industry Snapshot. The snapshot’s industry development issues include:

  • safety in horse riding and handling, together with animal integrity and welfare, highlighted by ASQA’s audit into equine safety
  • providing ex-racing animals with opportunities to be repatriated as companion animals, resulting in emerging new skills and employment opportunities within niche areas such as behavioural assessment and training tailored for ex-racing greyhounds
  • industry image, working conditions and the high-risk nature of many industry occupations apprentice Jockeys and Trackriders 
  • the racing industry has expressed a desire to link qualifications to licensing, particularly skill sets for Stablehands, Trackriders, and Horse and Greyhound Trainers but progress is impeded by the cost of enrolment for employers and the lack of local delivery in the state to support these occupations.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC)

Australian Bookmakers' Association (ABA)

Australian Genetics Testing (AGT)

Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA)

Australian Jockeys' Association (AJA)

Australian Jumping Racing Association (AJRA)

Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA)

Australian Trainers' Association (ATA)

Australian Turf Club

BOTRA Tasmania (Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association)

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club (BGRC)

Brisbane Racing Club

Canberra Harness Racing Club

Canberra Racing Club

Capricornia Country Racing Association

Central Districts Racing Association

Central West Country Racing Association

Country Broken Hill and Far West Racing Association

Country Racing Association of Western Australia (CRA WA)

Country Racing Victoria

Darwin Greyhound Association of the Northern Territories

Darwin Turf Club 

Racehorse Owners Association of NT (ROANT)

Downs Country Racing Association

Eastern Downs Country Racing Association

Equine Veterinarians Australia

Far North Country Racing Association

Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia Limited

Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria (GOTBA)

Greyhound Racing NSW

Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA)

Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV)

Greyhounds Australasia (GA)

Greyhounds Western Australia (GWA)

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV)

Harness Racing Australia (HRA)

Harness Racing New South Wales

Harness Racing Owners Association of Western Australia

Harness Racing South Australia

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV)

Hobart Greyhound Racing Club

Hunter and North West Racing Association

Launceston Greyhound Racing Club Inc.

Leichhardt Country Racing Association

Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA)

Melbourne Racing Club

Metropolitan and Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA)

Mid North Coast Racing Association

Mooney Valley Racing Club (MVRC)

North West Country Racing Association

Northern Rivers Racing Association

Northern Territory Bloodhorse Breeders Association (NTBBA)

NSW Bookmakers Association

NSW Jockeys Association

NSW Racehorse Owners Association (NSWROA)

NSW Standardbred Owners Association (NSWSOA)

NSW Trainers Association (NSWTA)

Perth Racing

Provincial Racing Association of NSW (PRANSW)

Queensland Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

Queensland Country Racing Committee

Queensland Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing

Queensland Racehorse Owners' Association

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC)

Racing and Wagering Western Australia

Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL)

Racing Australia

Racing NSW

Racing Queensland

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (SGRC)

South Australia Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs Association 

South Australian Harness Racing Pony Association (SAHRPA)

South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC)

South Australian Racehorse Owners' Association (SAROA)

South Australian Racing Clubs Council (SARCC)

South Australian Reinswomens’ Association

South Australian Thoroughbred Breeders (SATB)

Southern Districts Racing Association

Racehorse Owners’ Association Tasmania (ROAT)


The Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA)

Thoroughbred Breeders NSW (TBNSW)

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association

Thoroughbred Breeders Tasmania (TBT)

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV)

Thoroughbred Breeders Western Australia (TBWA)

Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners' Association (TROA)

Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Council of Australia

Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory (TRNT)

Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA)

United Harness Racing Association (UHRA)

Victoria Racing Club

Victorian Bookmakers’ Association (VBA)

Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club

Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA)

Victorian Square Trotters Association

Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA)

Victorian Trainers’ Association

West Australian Harness Racing Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

Western Australian Jockeys’ Association (WAJA)

Western Australian Provincial Thoroughbred Racing Association

Western Australian Racehorse Owners' Association (WAROA)

Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association (WARTA)

Western Australian Standardbred Breeder’s Association (WASBA)

Western Racing Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2023
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • Livestock Farm Workers
    • Animal Attendants and Trainers
    • Sportspersons
    • Greenkeepers
    • Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • RGR Racing Training Package
  • Jockey and Harness Race Driver
    • RGR40208 - Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey)
    • RGR40308 - Certificate IV in Racing (Harness Race Driver)
  • Other Racing
    • RGR20208 - Certificate II in Racing (Kennelhand)
    • RGR20213 - Certificate II in Racing (Greyhound)
    • RGR30308 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR30408 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Cadet Steward)
    • RGR30508 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)
    • RGR40408 - Certificate IV in Racing (Greyhound Trainer)
    • RGR40508 - Certificate IV in Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR40608 - Certificate IV in Racing Services (Steward)
    • RGR50208 - Diploma of Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR50308 - Diploma of Racing Services (Steward).
  • Racehorse Trainer
    • RGR40108 - Certificate IV in Racing (Racehorse Trainer)
    • RGR50108 - Diploma of Racing (Racehorse Trainer)
  • Stablehand
    • RGR10108 - Certificate I in Racing (Stablehand)
    • RGR20108 - Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand)
  • Trackrider
    • RGR30108 - Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)
    • RGR30208 - Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than five) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Racing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Racing IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 09 Sep 2019
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