Building and Plumbing Labourers
Building and Plumbing Labourers perform a variety of routine tasks associated with erecting and repairing structures and facilities, maintaining stormwater, drainage and sewerage systems, excavating earth and clearing and levelling sites, and installing and maintaining piping systems, fixtures and water regulators.
loading and unloading building and construction materials, tools and equipment and transporting them around building sites
erecting and dismantling temporary structures such as barricades and scaffolding
mixing, pouring and spreading materials such as concrete, plaster and mortar
cleaning and carrying out minor repairs on stormwater drains and canals, and checking for cracks and leaks in sewerage systems
digging holes and shovelling excavated material onto conveyors, wheelbarrows and trucks for removal
spreading and levelling soil, gravel and sand on roads and driveways, trench bottoms and similar locations
assisting with assembling and installing piping, valves and fittings
assisting with installing fixtures such as toilets, wash basins and sprinkler systems
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
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 65,800 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.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 76% of people employed as Building and Plumbing Labourers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 10 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 $1,550 per week, this is lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,276
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,017
Median hourly earnings are $36, 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||Building and Plumbing Labourers||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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Building and Plumbing Labourers||All Jobs Average|
Around 43% of Building and Plumbing Labourers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
New South Wales 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 Building and Plumbing Labourers is 34 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 3% of the workforce. This is 45 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||Building and Plumbing Labourers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.7||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 Building or Plumbing Labourer. Although some workers have a certificate III in related areas like construction, plumbing, drainage or water stability.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Construction, Plumbing and Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Building and Plumbing Labourers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||26.7||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 Building and Plumbing Labourers who are reliable, have a strong work ethic and are physically fit.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
41%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Talking to others.
37%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Reading work related information.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Teaching people how to do something.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
30%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
29%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
25%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
60%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
57%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
54%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
54%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
47%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
44%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
42%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
39%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
36%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
33%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
29%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Exercise for a long time without getting winded or out of breath.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
See details that are far away.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Communicate by speaking.
43%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Exercise for a long time without your muscles getting tired.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
84%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
76%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
64%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
59%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
58%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
57%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
56%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
54%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
54%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
51%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
50%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
48%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
47%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
44%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
43%Drafting, laying out, and specifying parts
Detailing and describing how devices, parts or equipment are to be made, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
42%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
41%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
40%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
32%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.
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.
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.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
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.
92%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
92%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Talk with people face-to-face.
90%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
90%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
89%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
82%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%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
78%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
77%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
76%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
76%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
Work with people in a group or team.
Work to strict deadlines.
Talk on the telephone.
74%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
73%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
72%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
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, 47-2061.00 - Construction Laborers.