Purpose: This paper aims to explore how and why the Australian records and archives professions are in decline by examining job advertisements. The hypothesis was that competencies, developed as standards to communicate a professional identity to recruiters, would show in job advertisements. Design/methodology/approach: Searches were set up to capture job advertisements for records and archives positions advertised on Australia’s largest job seeking website: Seek.com.au. Criteria developed to identify relevant advertisements were based on existing competencies and standards outlining records professionals’ skills, knowledge and attributes. Statistical analysis was used to assess the data. Findings: Employers and recruiters are looking for generalist skills rather than specialist knowledge. Additionally, the requirement of having experience outweighs qualifications. Most job advertisements did not demonstrate awareness of records professionals’ specialist skills, knowledge and attributes. Originality/value: There is a dearth of research into the Australian records workforce. There has been only one other research project into job advertisements in Australia, which focussed only on Western Australia. This research collected data over a three-month period for jobs advertised all over Australia. This paper raises questions about the role of competencies in establishing and communicating professional identity, as well as the future of records profession in Australia.