Chemical Plant Operators

ANZSCO ID 399211

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
1,800
Future Growth
N/A
Weekly Earnings
N/A
Full-Time Share
94%
Female Share
4%
Average age
47

Summary

Chemical Plant Operators control the operation of chemical production plant.

Specialisations: Chemicals Distiller, Chemicals Fermentation Operator, Industrial Gas Production Operator, Paint Maker, Pharmaceutical Plant Operator, Pilot Plant Operator.

Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Chemical Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III or IV in process plant operations.

Tasks

  • Controls equipment that performs continuous and batch processes to process chemicals.

  • Controls the preparation, measuring and feeding of raw material and processing agents such as catalysts and filtering media into plant.

  • Patrols and inspects equipment to ensure proper operation and sets operating controls on equipment.

  • Analyses samples and readings and records test data.

  • Controls records of production, quantities transferred and details of blending and pumping operations.

  • Checks equipment for malfunctions and arranges maintenance.

Characteristics

Job Type
Technicians And Trades Workers
Skill Level
Medium skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
n/a
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. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Chemical, Gas, Petroleum & Power Plant Operators, under the outlook section.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 94% of people employed as Chemical Plant Operators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 28 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).

    Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.


Industries

Main industries

1
Manufacturing
74.7%
2
Mining
3.1%
3
Financial and Insurance Services
3.1%
4
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
2.5%
5
Other industries
9.6%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

26.1% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

27.1% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

20.2% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

4.1% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

21.2% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

0.9% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

0.2% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

0.2% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Chemical Plant Operators All Jobs Average
NSW 26.1 31.6
VIC 27.1 25.6
QLD 20.2 20.0
SA 4.1 7.0
WA 21.2 10.8
TAS 0.9 2.0
NT 0.2 1.0
ACT 0.2 1.9


  • Around 43% of Chemical Plant Operators live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.

    Western Australia 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.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
47
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
4%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Chemical Plant Operators is 47 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 4% of the workforce. This is 44 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 Chemical Plant Operators All Jobs Average
15-19 0.3 5.0
20-24 3.1 9.3
25-34 15.1 22.9
35-44 24.8 22.0
45-54 29.7 21.6
55-59 16.2 9.0
60-64 8.7 6.0
65 and Over 2.1 4.2
Median Age 47 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 a Chemical Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III or IV in process plant operations.

Visit

  • My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
  • AAPathways website to explore Resources and Infrastructure Industry, Gas Industry, National Water Industry, Chemical, Hydrocarbons & Refining, Electricity Supply Industry - Generation Sector 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 Chemical Plant Operators All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 1.3 10.1
Bachelor degree 8.2 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 7.1 11.6
Certificate III/IV 38.1 21.1
Year 12 18.2 18.1
Year 11 6.4 4.8
Year 10 and below 20.6 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 Boat Builders and Shipwrights who are reliable, work well in a team and have a strong work ethic.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 64%

    Operation monitoring

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

  • 55%

    Operation and control

    Controlling equipment or systems.

  • 54%

    Active listening

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

  • 54%

    Critical thinking

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

  • 54%

    Monitoring

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

  • 54%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 50%

    Quality control analysis

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

  • 45%

    Complex problem solving

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

  • 45%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 43%

    Active learning

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

  • 43%

    Judgment and decision making

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

  • 43%

    Time management

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

  • 43%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 41%

    Learning strategies

    Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.

  • 41%

    Science

    Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

  • 39%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 39%

    Equipment maintenance

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

  • 39%

    Management of personnel resources

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

  • 39%

    Systems evaluation

    Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.

  • 37%

    Troubleshooting

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


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 62%

    Chemistry

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

  • 58%

    Mechanical

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

  • 47%

    English language

    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.

  • 41%

    Customer and personal service

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

  • 40%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 39%

    Public safety and security

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

  • 39%

    Education and training

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

  • 36%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 33%

    Physics

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

  • 29%

    Administration and management

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

  • 28%

    Personnel and human resources

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

  • 27%

    Engineering and technology

    Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  • 22%

    Clerical

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

  • 22%

    Technical design

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

  • 21%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 20%

    Transportation

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

  • 17%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 16%

    Psychology

    Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

  • 14%

    Communications and media

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 55%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 54%

    Near vision

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

  • 54%

    Problem spotting

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

  • 54%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 54%

    Control precision

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

  • 54%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 54%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 52%

    Perceptual speed

    Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

  • 52%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 52%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 52%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 50%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 50%

    Reaction time

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

  • 48%

    Auditory attention

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

  • 45%

    Arm-hand steadiness

    Keep your hand or arm steady.

  • 45%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 43%

    Flexibility of closure

    See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.

  • 43%

    Manual dexterity

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

  • 39%

    Hearing sensitivity

    Tell the difference between sounds.

  • 39%

    Colour discrimination

    Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.


Activities

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

  • 66%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

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

  • 65%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 64%

    Handling and moving objects

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

  • 63%

    Checking for errors or defects

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

  • 62%

    Controlling equipment or machines

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

  • 58%

    Doing physically active work

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

  • 57%

    Looking for changes over time

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

  • 56%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

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

  • 52%

    Checking compliance with standards

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

  • 51%

    Working with mechanical equipment

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

  • 48%

    Training and teaching others

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

  • 47%

    Documenting or recording information

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

  • 46%

    Making decisions and solving problems

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

  • 44%

    Communicating within a team

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

  • 43%

    Collecting and organising information

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  • 43%

    Making sense of information and ideas

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  • 38%

    Working with computers

    Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  • 38%

    Estimating amounts, costs and resources

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

  • 38%

    Coordinating the work of a team

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

  • 28%

    Explaining things to people

    Helping people to understand and use information.


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.

  • 52%

    Administrative

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

  • 33%

    Analytical

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

  • 29%

    Enterprising

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

  • 19%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.

  • 14%

    Creative

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


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 81%

    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.

  • 67%

    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.

  • 62%

    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.

  • 57%

    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.

  • 48%

    Achievement

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

  • 43%

    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.

  • 100%

    Wear common protective or safety equipment

    Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.

  • 99%

    Dangerous conditions

    Work near dangers like high voltage electricity, flammable material, explosives or chemicals.

  • 97%

    Exposure to contaminants

    Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.

  • 96%

    Loud or uncomfortable sounds

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

  • 95%

    Indoors, not heat controlled

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

  • 93%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 92%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 91%

    Indoors, heat controlled

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  • 91%

    Outdoors, exposed to weather

    Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.

  • 89%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 89%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  • 88%

    Pace of work set by equipment

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

  • 87%

    Contact with people

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

  • 84%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 83%

    Outdoors, under cover

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

  • 83%

    Consequence of error

    Work where mistakes have serious consequences.

  • 82%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 82%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 81%

    Very hot or cold temperatures

    Work in very hot or cold temperatures.

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, 51-8091.00 - Chemical Plant and System Operators.


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