Technicians and Trades Workers

The Technicians and Trades Workers graphic shows 35% of jobs are regional. 16% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 25% of workers are self-employed.

The Technicians and Trades Workers graphic shows 11% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 57% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 5% of workers hold an other qualification. 27% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

Technicians and Trades Workers undertake a variety of skilled manual tasks. They apply technical, trade or industry specific knowledge in construction, manufacturing, scientific, engineering and other activities.

Regional employment is fairly common with more than a third of workers employed across regional Australia. A relatively large proportion of this group are self-employed (25%), particularly Construction Trades Workers (47%), and full-time work is common.

Technicians and Trades Workers has the second lowest percentage of female workers of any occupation group (16%). This is especially apparent for Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers, Construction Trades Workers, and Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers. That said, some occupations have large shares of female workers, such as Veterinary Nurses (97%) and Hairdressers (85%).

What qualifications and skills are needed?

Almost 60% of Technicians and Trades Workers hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification, with apprenticeships and traineeships providing a key training pathway for many occupations in this group.

Common skills that are needed include general employability skills (such as communication, planning and problem solving) that are valued across most occupations.

Top employing occupations

Metal Fitters and Machinists
Carpenters and Joiners
Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
Motor Mechanics
Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians
ICT Support Technicians
Painting Trades Workers
Medical Technicians
Other Building and Engineering Technicians
Electronics Trades Workers
Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
Bakers and Pastrycooks
Telecommunications Trades Workers

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In which industries are Technicians and Trades Workers employed?

Construction accounts for the largest share of these workers (33%), followed by Manufacturing (14%) and Other Services (which includes automotive repair and maintenance) (13%).

Are there job opportunities?

With federal and state governments introducing or bringing forward infrastructure projects, and the new HomeBuilder program supporting jobs in the residential construction sector, these will help the Construction industry (and therefore Technicians and Trades Workers) remain an important source of jobs for Australians now and into the future.

Many vacancies for Technicians and Trades Workers can be advertised informally. When seeking work, it pays to be proactive by approaching employers directly (e.g. by email or by phone), checking social media, including jobs groups on social media platforms and reaching out through your network of family and friends.

Will there be future opportunities?

The tasks performed in this group are diverse. Some are routine, manual tasks which may be at risk of automation, although many occupations involve non-routine or unpredictable duties which are more difficult to automate.

Employment by occupation subgroup, Technicians and Trades Workers

  Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile
Occupation subgroup 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
Region % % % % % % %
Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians 15 26 6 18 31 45 18
Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers 6 1 17 17 5 67 22
Construction Trades Workers 12 1 21 13 4 61 33
Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers 8 2 19 14 7 64 24
Food Trades Workers 29 32 16 14 13 49 34
Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers 34 36 17 22 11 39 42
Other Technicians and Trades Workers 31 45 13 18 10 58 27
All Technicians and Trades Workers 16 16 16 16 11 57 27

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, A snapshot in time: The Australian labour market and COVID-19; National Skills Commission, Employers' Recruitment Insights.