Funeral Workers prepare bodies for viewing and burial, arrange and conduct funerals, and perform other specialist funereal services.
interviewing families and associates of the deceased to assist with funeral arrangements such as the selection of coffin, type of service and publication of death notices
advising on funeral costs and welfare provisions
collecting bodies from mortuaries
ensuring death certificates have been issued, burial and cremation certificates processed and that other legal requirements are met
preparing bodies for viewing and burial by washing, draining body fluids, applying padding and cosmetics, dressing bodies and placing them in coffins
liaising with clergy and cemetery and crematorium staff
coordinating the movement of coffins and funeral cars, arranging floral displays and collecting attendance and tribute cards
arranging the placement of coffins at funeral sites, and placing and adjusting floral displays and lighting
keeping records and accounts of transactions and services performed
may arrange the construction of memorials and the disposal of ashes
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 moderately
- is likely to reach 3,300 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 71% of people employed as Funeral Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 5 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 45 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,356 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,263
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,514
Median hourly earnings are $34, 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||Funeral Workers||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 Funeral Workers work in the Other services industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Funeral Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 50% of Funeral Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
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 Funeral Workers is 52 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 45% of the workforce. This is 3 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||Funeral Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||13.1||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
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Funeral Worker or Director. Although some workers have a qualification in funeral services.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Funeral Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Funeral Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||2.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||21.6||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 Funeral Workers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic, physically fit and can interact well with others.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking to others.
Looking for ways to help people.
57%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
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.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
54%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.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
46%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
43%Management of financial resources
Figuring out how money is needed to do something, and keeping track of the money that's being spent.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Using maths to solve problems.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
90%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
61%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
59%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
58%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
58%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
57%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
57%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
55%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
51%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
50%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
43%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
42%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
42%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
48%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
45%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
79%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
76%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
74%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
73%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
68%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
68%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
66%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
64%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
64%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
63%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
61%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
61%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
60%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
60%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
57%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
55%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
54%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
52%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
45%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
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.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
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.
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.
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.
Talk on the telephone.
98%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
98%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Talk with people face-to-face.
96%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
94%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Work with people in a group or team.
90%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
88%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
88%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work to strict deadlines.
85%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
85%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
83%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
82%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
82%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
82%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
81%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
80%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
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, 39-4031.00 - Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors.
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.