Machinery Operators and Drivers

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The Machinery Operators and Drivers graphic shows image 35% of jobs are regional. 11% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 14% of workers are self-employed.
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11% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 31% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 7% of workers hold an other qualification. 51% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

 

Annual employment growth

Machinery Operators and Drivers operate machines, vehicles and are mainly employed in Transport, Postal and Warehousing, Manufacturing and Construction. More than one third of workers are employed in regional Australia.

The National Skills Commission's 2021 Skills Priority List anticipates strong projected future demand for the following Machinery Operators and Driver occupations: Truck Driver, Storeperson and Agricultural and Horticultural Mobile Plant Operator.

Top employing occupations

Truck Drivers 160,500
Storepersons 137,900
Delivery Drivers 74,900
Forklift Drivers 61,400
Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers 57,100
Automobile Drivers 48,600
Bus and Coach Drivers 47,900
Earthmoving Plant Operators 47,600
Other Stationary Plant Operators 20,100
Other Mobile Plant Operators 16,100
Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators 15,100
Engineering Production Workers 14,600
Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators 12,500
Other Machine Operators 12,300
Sewing Machinists 11,200
Train and Tram Drivers 11,100
Industrial Spraypainters 7,900
Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators 7,200
Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators 4,200
Clay, Concrete, Glass and Stone Processing Machine Operators 3,200

Post-school qualifications are often not essential to gain employment in this group, but tickets or licences are mandatory for many positions. Employers value skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, creativity and initiative. If you are considering working in this area, it may pay to look beyond vacancy websites. Around one in five employers use social media when hiring Machinery Operators and Drivers and it is not uncommon for positions to be advertised through word-of-mouth or by recruitment agencies.

This occupation group is mostly male (89% of the workforce). Within this group though, there is some variation, with females accounting for one in five people employed as Storepersons.

Employment by occupation subgroup, Machinery Operators and Drivers

  Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
  Employ’t May 2021 5 year change
to May 2021
Part-time Female Aged 15 to 24 years Aged 55 years or older Bachelor degree or higher Cert III or higher VET qual No post-school qual 5 year change to May 2025
Occupation subgroup ‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Machine and Stationary Plant Operators 166.3 -4.3 -2.5 10 16 8 23 6 39 48 1.7
Mobile Plant Operators 140.7 20.3 16.9 10 4 8 27 6 31 53 -0.1
Road and Rail Drivers 353.4 4.8 1.4 24 6 8 33 13 29 51 7.9
Storepersons 137.9 17.1 14.2 27 22 23 17 16 22 55 2.7
All Machinery Operators and Drivers 790.4 28.7 3.8 19 11 11 27 11 31 51 4.4

Sources: ABS, Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations; ABS, Characteristics of Employment; ABS, Education and Work; ABS, Labour Force (seasonally adjusted and annual averages of original data); National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences; National Skills Commission, Employers’ Insights on the Australian Labour Market: 2020 Data Report; National Skills Commission, Skills Priority List, 2021.