Sydney's well-paid professionals - including lawyers, doctors, engineers and scientists - now make up more than a quarter of the city's workforce after growing more quickly than other major occupations.

Census data released yesterday showed the number of professionals in Sydney topped half a million for the first time last year, entrenching it as the city's most common occupational category. Professionals made up 25.5 per cent of the city's workers, 1.7 percentage points more than the previous census in 2006 and well above the national average. A growing majority of those professional workers were women in Sydney and across Australia. In contrast, the proportion of technicians and tradesmen working in Sydney fell from 12.7 per cent to 12.2 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

The census also revealed a much more educated population. More than 2.3 million Australians had completed a bachelor degree, up 27.2 per cent since 2006.

Workers

A quarter of Sydney's workforce ... census data has revealed well-paid professionals made up 25.5 per cent of the city's workers.

The number completing a postgraduate degree nationally has increased by 52.8 per cent to more than 631,000. In Sydney, the number of people reporting a postgraduate qualification rose from 135,000 in 2006 to nearly 200,000 in 2011.

Nationally, the healthcare and social services sector now employs more people than any other industry. The proportion of workers in that sector, which includes doctors, nurses, dentists, child care workers and aged care workers, rose from 10.5 per cent in 2006 to 11.6 per cent in 2011.

Managers account for 12.9 per cent of workers, down from 13.2 per cent, but the proportion of women in management has climbed to a record 35.4 per cent. Retailing has become less important, employing 10.5 per cent of the workforce, down from 11.3 per cent. The proportion of manufacturing workers slipped below 10 per cent of the workforce for the first time after shedding about 50,000 jobs between 2006 and 2011. It now accounts for 9 per cent of workers.

More Australians are employed in the mining industry, but the proportion is still low: 1.8 per cent of workers, up from 1.4 per cent five years earlier.

Yesterday's figures, which are part of a second wave of census data, showed Australians are staying put, despite the mining boom and talk of an exodus west.

A near record 84.1 per cent of Australians reported sleeping in the same home on census night 2011 as they did a year before - up from 83 per cent five years earlier. The proportion who had been in the same home for five years rose from 57 per cent to 58.3 per cent. The proportion who had moved from overseas in the past five years rose from 4.8 per cent to 6.4 per cent, but the proportion who had moved within Australia fell from 38 to 34.8 per cent.

The census counted 527,000 professionals in Sydney in 2011, about 75,000 more than in 2006.