Career Industries of the Potter Universe
A dive into theory about what you could do if you were a wizard!
Lately, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block, and this one felt like an easy win. And sometimes, an easy win is needed to get the creative juices flowing again.
Thus I take you down the crazy path that is my brain on Harry Potter…
During a current re-read of the series, I went on a Google search to look up something about one of the characters. I can’t even remember what I was searching for, but in doing so, I stumbled upon several Quora threads discussing potential horrifying implications of the Potter universe.
Over and over again I saw statements about the lack of available jobs. Everyone seemed of the opinion that working for the Ministry, teaching, or shop keeper are the only career options. This seemed ludicrous to me since I was able to come up with five non-ministry jobs within three minutes while reading a Quora thread on the toilet.
Don’t even act like you don’t do it too.
It’s worth noting, I stick to the books for this analysis. I do not pull these theories from Pottermore, the movies, or other expansions of the Potter Universe.
So, what jobs would be available in the Harry Potter Universe?
To begin, we need to remember that we only know Harry’s world through his eyes. Whilst he is not the narrator, we only ever see what Harry sees. This means we have absolutely no idea what the wizarding world even looks like outside of the one section of reality that Harry sees. But by looking at the world through his childhood eyes, and applying the logic and reasoning skills of a Muggle adult, I was able to come up with a fairly vast list.
We know of at least two Wandmakers — Gregorovitch and Ollivander — so it is safe to assume there are others. We actually know there have at least been others in the past since Ollivander’s own sign says “Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC”. It’s pretty unlikely that the entire wizarding world makes a pilgrimage to England, or even Europe, just to buy a wand.
We know from the Prisoner of Azkaban that each Firebolt is “hand-numbered with its own registration number” and that each birch twig is individually selected. This is extremely good evidence that Broom makers exist.
Using this logic, it is safe to assume that there is an entire industry of handcrafted and highly specialized items, from Quidditch balls to furniture.
Wizard Medicine, Dentistry, and Eye Care
Madam Pomfrey is the wizarding equivalent of a school nurse and Neville’s parents are institutionalized at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Goblet of Fire even mentions “trained mediwizards” at the World Cup. There is clearly a wizard equivalent of the medical industry, which likely includes wizard equivalents of doctors, nurses, midwives, and may even contain specialties like pediatrics and psychology.
Whilst the Weasley’s are bewildered by simple things like telephones, Hermione mentions several times that her parents are dentists and nobody acts remotely confused by this, so let’s add that to the list.
While we’re at it, there are plenty of non-Muggles who wear glasses, so let’s include optometrists and crafters of glasses.
Heck, since they don’t use computers, there’s probably even a slew of record keepers, receptionists, and maybe even office manager types who do other administrative tasks like payroll, supply ordering, and mail opening.
Your average wizard isn’t going to know anything about architecture and the laws of physics. We know the Weasleys probably held their house together through magic based off the description provided in Chamber of Secrets:
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigpen, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several stories high and so crooked it looked as though it were held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was).
But this is the only building we encounter throughout the series that we are led to believe is held together through the use of magic. The Weasley’s simply needed to house more children and couldn’t afford a bigger house, so they did it themselves.
Most likely, there is an entire industry of builders, architects, contractors, and the like. There’s probably even realtors — even magical buildings aren’t going to sell themselves.
The Food Industry
In The Deathly Hallows, Hermione tells us that magical people “can’t produce food out of thin air.” Later in the book, Neville states that even the Room of Requirement is unable to provide food. Food simply cannot come from nothing.
But we know that there are restaurants, pubs, snack vendors, and trolley cart pushers. There’s pre-packaged food like Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, and ice cream shops. There is an entire industry of food and drink preparation, just like there is for humans. Throughout the series, we meet barkeeps, restaurant and confectionery owners, and proprietors of inns.
- If you have a bar, you have alcohol. And you have to get the alcohol from somewhere. It’s safe to assume there is an industry around alcohol creation.
- While most restaurants and pubs probably have house elves cook their food, I’d bet money that fancy restaurants and high-end bakeries are overseen by highly trained human chefs.
- This also means food growers as well as food distributors, including transportation and warehousing. Again, even if the grunt work is done by house elves, you better believe that the administrative work and oversight is done by humans.
- There are probably even wizard versions of grocery stores.
When Harry, Ron, and Hermione use Polyjuice to infiltrate the Ministry, Ron assumes the body of someone who is essentially a wizard handyman. If there is one at the Ministry there are surely others for the non-government world. There could even be specialists (plumbers, welders, roofers) for the really difficult tasks.
Athletics and Media
There are professional Quidditch players and referees at a minimum. Perhaps there are also coaches. Who says there aren’t other wizard sports elsewhere? Just because my dad only watched football, baseball, basketball, and golf it doesn’t mean that other sports don’t exist. But it also means I didn’t know anything about those other sports when I was Harry’s age. Perhaps the same holds true for him.
In Goblet of Fire, the group Weird Sisters performs for the Yule Ball. So obviously there are musicians and composers. In one of the books, Ron listens to some type of wizard radio, meaning there are radio hosts and newscasters. Perhaps the performance world even includes dance and theatre, meaning dancers and actors.
Rita Skeeter is a journalist for the Daily Prophet and Xenophilius Lovegood is the editor of a magazine. While we are lead to believe that Lovegood is on his own with the creation of The Quibbler, The Daily Prophet seems to be the equivalent of The New York Times. It has to be printed and distributed somehow, and Rita can’t possibly be writing the entire thing herself
Animal Care, Veterinary, and Zoology
Charlie Weasley is a dragon trainer which boils down to being a zoologist of sorts. If Muggles have people dedicating their entire lives to studying single species then why would we expect anything less from the wizarding world?
Hermione buys Crookshanks from a pet shop in Diagon Alley and Hagrid buys Hedwig at an owl emporium, so there is also a pet care industry. Since we already determined there is magical human medicine and magic people tend to be pretty attached to their familiars, I bet there is also a magical veterinary world.
We know there are booksellers, authors (Gilderoy Lockhart, Bathilda Bagshot, Newton Scamandar) and libraries with librarians (Madam Pince). There’s probably also editors, publishers, and distributors.
Random Other Jobs We Know to Exist or Can Make a Strong Case For
- In Goblet of Fire, one person trying to impress a veela claims to be a Vampire Hunter.
- Both the Knight Bus and the Hogwarts Express have drivers as well as additional staff members — the Conductor on the Knight Bus, Stanley Shunpike, and the trolley witch on the Hogwarts Express. The trolley witch is really a food vendor of sorts, which we also see at the Quidditch World cup, along with souvenir and program vendors.
- There are owl post offices. There must be postal workers to run them.
- There are judges at the Ministry, so there are surely lawyers who are not Ministry employees.
- While wizard banks are run by Goblins, this doesn’t mean that humans can’t work for them. Bill Weasley is known to work for Gringotts as a Curse Breaker. However, in Goblet of Fire he tells his mother, “No one at the bank gives a damn how I dress as long as I bring home plenty of treasure.” So he’s the type of curse breaker who is also a treasure hunter.
- The kids buy robes from a shop where they are hemmed by a witch to properly fit. So it appears that seamstresses still exist in Harry’s world.
Other Potential Job Industries
These last ones could potentially be a stretch, as they aren’t directly witnessed in the Potter books, but they are potentials that can be seen through the use of Muggle adult reasoning skills.
Most banking jobs are held by goblins, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t finance jobs elsewhere. Every industry has payroll and bookkeeping needs. And there’s a slew of rich wizards. People don’t get rich by improperly managing money.
The Malfoy’s definitely have an accountant somewhere in their employment, and considering their disdain for all things not-pure-blood-wizard, I don’t think Lucius would allow anyone except a fellow pure blood to handle their money.
At the World Cup, we see advertisements for cleaning agents and other items. Someone is making those ads. If there is an advertisement industry, it’s safe to assume there are copywriters, designers, and sales folk. Additionally, the products that are being advertised must be made somewhere. There’s likely an entire world of manufacturing.
This one is the biggest stretch but hear me out. As discussed above, we already know that there are at minimum seamstresses in the wizarding world. We also know through descriptions of Rita Skeeter that more outlandish clothing is available in the wizarding world (she carries a crocodile-skin handbag, and is often seen in green leather robes with maroon furred collars and sleeves).
The fact that her leather clothes are robes is the big thing that leads me to believe she acquired these in the wizarding world, not the muggle world. It feels very possible that there is an entire industry dedicated to wizard fashion. We merely wouldn’t see it through Harry’s eyes because he’s a teen-aged boy who was just thrown into a world of magic, who’s constantly trying to not be killed by the world’s darkest wizard. Why would he care about fashion?
Last but definitely not least. All of the shop keepers manage to stay in business. This provides further argument for the accountants I listed above, but it also leads to the thought that these people must obtain business knowledge from somewhere. Since every magical adult we encounter seems to have a specialty, it’s very likely that there are further educational paths that can be taken after Hogwarts.
I highly doubt that teachers simply start teaching and that Aurors simply become Aurors. There must be further training options to allow for this, and with it, people employed to support the infrastructure.
What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts on any possibilities I missed!