Butchers and Smallgoods Makers
Butchers and Smallgoods Makers select, cut, trim, prepare and arrange meat for sale and supply, operate meat and smallgoods processing machines, and manage the processes in the production of smallgoods.
preparing meat for sale by removing bones, trimming fat and cutting, mincing and grinding meat to shape and size for display or as ordered
preparing crumbed cuts of meat, and marinating, seasoning and curing special cuts
selecting and preparing meat to produce smallgoods
operating machines to grind, mix, mince and tenderise meat
making seasonings and pickles by mixing spices, salt and other ingredients
operating sausage filling machines, smoking chambers, and cooking kettles and vats
advising customers on the suitability and uses of cuts of meat
may assist in menu planning and scheduling, and in estimating food production costs
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 9,200 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 82% of people employed as Butchers and Smallgoods Makers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 16 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 46 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,045 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $980
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,442
Median hourly earnings are $28, this is lower than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Butchers and Smallgoods Makers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Butchers and Smallgoods Makers work in the Retail trade industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Butchers and Smallgoods Makers||All Jobs Average|
Around 53% of Butchers and Smallgoods Makers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Queensland has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Butchers and Smallgoods Makers is 39 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 6% of the workforce. This is 42 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Butchers and Smallgoods Makers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||4.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Extensive experience or a certificate III in meat processing (retail butcher or smallgoods) is needed to work as a Butcher or Smallgoods Maker. These courses are often completed as part of an apprenticeship.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Australian Meat Processing VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Butchers and Smallgoods Makers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.2||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||15.2||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Butchers and Smallgoods Makers who are reliable, well presented and have a good work ethic.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
43%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Looking for ways to help people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
39%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
36%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
34%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Teaching people how to do something.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Using maths to solve problems.
29%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
29%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
55%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
47%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
38%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
31%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
29%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
23%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
23%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
19%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
15%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
14%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
14%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
12%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Communicate by speaking.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Listen to and understand what people say.
43%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
See details that are far away.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
75%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
65%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
58%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
57%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
56%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
56%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
56%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
53%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
52%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
51%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
Convincing people to buy something or to change their minds or actions.
50%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
50%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
49%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
46%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
46%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
44%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
43%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
42%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
41%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
100%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
97%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
96%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
91%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
90%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
90%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work with people in a group or team.
Talk with people face-to-face.
87%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
85%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
83%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
Work to strict deadlines.
81%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
79%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
78%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
78%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
78%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
77%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
76%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-3021.00 - Butchers and Meat Cutters.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.