Consider this a sequal to my What jobs would halflings be suited for in a medieval setting? post.

While most Goblins live in their own isolated groups a good many of them live in human societies. Now they still need to eat, therefore they need a job to make money and support themselves.

Basic characteristics of Goblins:

  • They are 112.7cm (3.7ft) tall and weigh 80 lbs
  • They have slightly worse eyesight but do have a better sense of smell and hearing
  • They are as intelligent as humans
  • They are proportionately stronger than humans of their size
  • are a bit more nimble than humans

With all that said, if Goblins were to take part in medieval society, (besides farming) what jobs would they gravitate toward?

NOTE: Magic does not exist in my story.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This might not be what you want to hear but in a medivial society 95% of all people do subsistence farming. Only very few people have the priviledge to do anything else but growing food. $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Feb 11, 2020 at 12:23

4 Answers 4


Their strength, size and poor sight would kinda turn them in to (ugly) dwarfs. Best fitted for mining jobs. Especially if there is a form of discrimination towards them it would make sense for them to have more high risk jobs.

But besides that they would probably be much like humans practicing smiting or working as a farmhand


Any work not requiring large reserves of strength or endurance.

In just about any industry where you have a workforce, goblins would be preferable. That would include manufacturing, farming, tending livestock, mining, or any service industry. If the goblins are tractable employees it would be like employing children without the problem of children being weak and immature. In the third world women and children are preferred employees for many industries.

Large bodies are good to house caloric reserves and for main strength and endurance. Otherwise large bodies are more a hindrance than a help for most types of employment. You can fit more children in a given workspace. They are small so require less food, so require less pay to live. Children have nimble fingers; goblins too. Children might be physically weaker than adults but goblins less so.

Jobs requiring brute strength or exceptional endurance might still go to adult humans. In just about any other role, goblins would be preferable. You might need to make them difficult or uncooperative or they will edge the humans out of the workforce.


They’d work on farms like 90% of everyone else in the Middle Ages

Goblins gotta eat too, and if humans are going to keep them around as slaves...I mean workers then they have to be carrying their own weight so to speak. Because almost all of the labor was being done on farms, it makes sense that goblins would be put to work here as well.

So then what would goblins be good at on farms? Their small size would mean that they’re close to the ground, and can therefore be put to work weeding fields and gardens and harvesting tubers. Because they’re small and disproportionately strong, they’d be good climbers and could be put to work harvesting fruits and nuts from orchards.


So what they really have going for them is being short, nimble, and having a good sense of smell and hearing.

Better sense of smell and hearing and short stature makes for excellent scouts for the military. If they are classic goblin green that helps. Poorer sight will be a hindrance so give them spyglasses is available, but being able to hide more easily and indirectly sense movement of troops will outweigh the negatives.

Likewise they would be good small game hunters, especially as trappers were sight doesn't matter as much but smell is a big help, and work well as scouts for large game hunting. Ditto for egg finders.

They are light weight so they may make good sailors, ditto for many forms of construction and even jobs that require climbing trees.

A better sense of smell will make for a much better brewers, cooks, and perhaps even doctors.

they will not have any advantage but being small will not hurt them with skilled but not strength based jobs like candle maker, cobbler, or tailor, however these jobs are few and far between although they get more common as the period progresses. As many have said most of them will be farmers as truly specialized labor was rare and mostly confined to the cities.


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