Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators

ANZSCO ID 7211

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
11,800
Future Growth
10.6%
Weekly Earnings
$1,185
Full-Time Share
82%
Female Share
6%
Average age
43

Summary

Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators operate agricultural, forestry and horticultural plant to clear and cultivate land, sow and harvest crops, and fell trees and move logs.

Tasks

  • preparing and positioning plant for operation

  • operating tractor-drawn and self-propelled plant to plough land and sow, fertilise, cultivate and harvest crops, and avoid damaging crops

  • adjusting speed, height and depth of implements

  • operating plant to hold, lift and cut trees

  • operating attachments to lift, swing, release and sort trees and logs, and operating auxiliary plant such as chipping machines and log splitting machines

  • feeding felled trees into processors to strip limbs and cut into logs and loading logs onto stockpiles and into trucks

  • keeping log tallies and writing work reports

  • servicing plant and performing minor repairs

Characteristics

Job Type
Machinery Operators And Drivers
Skill Level
Lower skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Above average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  • Informal or on-the-job
Interests
  • Practical
Physical Demand
  • Medium

Outlook

Employment Outlook

The NSC 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 17,000 by 2026.
  • Source: National Skills Commission 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.

Projected Change
10.6%
(or 1,600 jobs)
From
15,400
in 2021
To
17,000
in 2026

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Year Employment
2011 16,000
2012 15,200
2013 10,800
2014 14,000
2015 13,500
2016 13,700
2017 16,000
2018 14,600
2019 12,200
2020 18,300
2021 15,400
2026 17,000

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 82% of people employed as Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators 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 49 hours per week in their main job. This is 5 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).

    Median full-time earnings are $1,185 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):

    • 3 in 4 workers earn more than $950
    • 1 in 4 earn more than $1,329

    Median hourly earnings are $31, 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)

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.
Earnings Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings 1,185 1,593
Total Earnings 0 0

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.


Industries

Main industries

1
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
68.0%
2
Public Administration and Safety
10.2%
3
Wholesale Trade
6.1%
4
Manufacturing
4.8%
5
Other industries
10.9%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

22.8% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

18.1% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

32.0% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

10.5% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

10.6% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

5.3% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

0.5% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

0.2% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators All Jobs Average
NSW 22.8 31.6
VIC 18.1 25.6
QLD 32.0 20.0
SA 10.5 7.0
WA 10.6 10.8
TAS 5.3 2.0
NT 0.5 1.0
ACT 0.2 1.9


  • Around 90% of Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.

    Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania have a large share of employment relative to their population size.

    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.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
43
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
6%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Operators is 43 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 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)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators All Jobs Average
15-19 4.0 5.0
20-24 11.0 9.3
25-34 20.7 22.9
35-44 18.3 22.0
45-54 21.7 21.6
55-59 9.9 9.0
60-64 8.0 6.0
65 and Over 6.4 4.2
Median Age 43 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

Formal qualifications are not essential to work as an Agricultural, Forestry or Horticultural Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III or IV in rural machinery operations or harvesting and haulage.

Visit

  • My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
  • AAPathways website to explore Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management VET training pathways.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

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.
Type of Qualification Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 0.3 10.1
Bachelor degree 2.3 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 3.7 11.6
Certificate III/IV 30.1 21.1
Year 12 16.0 18.1
Year 11 8.0 4.8
Year 10 and below 39.6 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 Agricultural, Forestry & Horticultural Operators who are trustworthy and responsible, can communicate with a variety of people and have good team work skills.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 54%

    Operation and control

    Controlling equipment or systems.

  • 50%

    Operation monitoring

    Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

  • 45%

    Equipment maintenance

    Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.

  • 43%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 43%

    Repairing

    Fixing machines or systems.

  • 43%

    Troubleshooting

    Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.

  • 41%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 41%

    Quality control analysis

    Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.

  • 37%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 36%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 34%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 34%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.

  • 34%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 29%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 29%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 27%

    Management of personnel resources

    Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.

  • 27%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 27%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 27%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 25%

    Equipment selection

    Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 77%

    Food production

    Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.

  • 63%

    Chemistry

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

  • 57%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 55%

    Technical design

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  • 53%

    Building and construction

    Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.

  • 46%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 46%

    Mechanical

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  • 39%

    Production and processing

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  • 39%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 34%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

  • 30%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 23%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

  • 22%

    Biology

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  • 22%

    Physics

    The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

  • 21%

    Geography

    Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.

  • 21%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 18%

    Foreign language

    Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.

  • 14%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 14%

    Economics and accounting

    Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.

  • 11%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 54%

    Control precision

    Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.

  • 52%

    Multilimb coordination

    Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.

  • 52%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 50%

    Hearing sensitivity

    Tell the difference between sounds.

  • 50%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 48%

    Depth perception

    Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.

  • 48%

    Reaction time

    Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.

  • 46%

    Finger dexterity

    Put together small parts with your fingers.

  • 45%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 45%

    Arm-hand steadiness

    Keep your hand or arm steady.

  • 45%

    Manual dexterity

    Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

  • 45%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 45%

    Rate control

    Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.

  • 45%

    Response orientation

    Quickly choose the right movement of the hand, foot, or other body part when there are two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures).

  • 43%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 41%

    Auditory attention

    Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.

  • 41%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 41%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 38%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 38%

    Speech recognition

    Identify and understand the speech of another person.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 77%

    Handling and moving objects

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.

  • 66%

    Controlling equipment or machines

    Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  • 66%

    Working with mechanical equipment

    Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.

  • 63%

    Doing physically active work

    Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.

  • 56%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 54%

    Driving vehicles or equipment

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

  • 54%

    Checking for errors or defects

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  • 54%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

    Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.

  • 52%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 49%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 48%

    Scheduling work and activities

    Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

  • 46%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 43%

    Coordinating the work of a team

    Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.

  • 38%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 37%

    Managing payments and orders

    Monitoring and controlling resources and the spending of money.

  • 35%

    Looking for changes over time

    Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  • 32%

    Training and teaching others

    Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.

  • 31%

    Coming up with systems and processes

    Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.

  • 29%

    Estimating amounts, costs and resources

    Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.

  • 25%

    Documenting or recording information

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.


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

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 100%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

  • 29%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 24%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 24%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 14%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 14%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 62%

    Support

    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.

  • 43%

    Independence

    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.

  • 38%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 33%

    Relationships

    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.

  • 31%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 24%

    Recognition

    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.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 100%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 96%

    Outdoors, exposed to weather

    Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.

  • 95%

    In an open vehicle or equipment

    Work in an open vehicle (e.g., a tractor).

  • 95%

    In an enclosed vehicle or equipment

    Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).

  • 90%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 87%

    Using your hands to handle, control, or feel

    Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.

  • 84%

    Very hot or cold temperatures

    Work in very hot or cold temperatures.

  • 83%

    Exposure to contaminants

    Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.

  • 79%

    Loud or uncomfortable sounds

    Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.

  • 79%

    Dangerous equipment

    Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.

  • 76%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 76%

    Outdoors, under cover

    Work outdoors, under cover (e.g., in an open shed).

  • 72%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  • 72%

    Consequence of error

    Work where mistakes have serious consequences.

  • 71%

    Indoors, not heat controlled

    Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).

  • 69%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 69%

    Pace of work set by equipment

    Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.

  • 69%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 69%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

  • 68%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

Occupational Information Network
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, 45-2091.00 - Agricultural Equipment Operators.


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