Earthmoving Plant Operators

ANZSCO ID 7212

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
50,200
Future Growth
0.6%
Weekly Earnings
$1,625
Full-Time Share
86%
Female Share
2%
Average age
45

Summary

Earthmoving Plant Operators operate plant to excavate earth, ore and rock, break up pavement, road, rock and obstructions, move and load earth, rock and debris, and level, smooth and compact surfaces in construction and other projects.

Tasks

  • preparing and positioning plant for operation

  • selecting, fitting and removing attachments such as buckets, winches, loading scoops, shovel blades and rock breaking hammers

  • operating controls to excavate, break, drill, level, compact, gouge out, move, load and spread earth, rock, rubble, soil and other materials

  • monitoring operation of plant and adjusting controls to regulate pressure, speed and flow of operation, and ensuring safety of other workers

  • raising, lowering and manipulating attachments using manual and hydraulic controls

  • working from drawings, markers and verbal instructions

  • servicing, lubricating, cleaning and refuelling plant and performing minor adjustments and repairs

Characteristics

Job Type
Machinery Operators And Drivers
Skill Level
Lower skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Below average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  • Informal or on-the-job
Interests
  • Practical
  • Administrative
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 in this occupation is likely to remain stable.

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
0.6%
(or 300 jobs)
From
44,400
in 2021
To
44,700
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 50,300
2012 50,900
2013 56,300
2014 43,900
2015 37,900
2016 46,900
2017 45,300
2018 52,200
2019 48,500
2020 43,000
2021 44,400
2026 44,700

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 86% of people employed as Earthmoving Plant Operators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 20 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).

    More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).

    Median full-time earnings are $1,625 per week, this is similar to the all jobs median ($1,593):

    • 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,453
    • 1 in 4 earn more than $2,041

    Median hourly earnings are $41, this is the same as 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. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. 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 Earthmoving Plant Operators All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings 1,625 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
Construction
68.9%
2
Mining
14.2%
3
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
3.2%
4
Public Administration and Safety
2.4%
5
Other industries
11.4%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

28.7% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

20.6% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

25.8% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

7.0% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

13.1% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

3.0% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

1.1% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

0.7% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Earthmoving Plant Operators All Jobs Average
NSW 28.7 31.6
VIC 20.6 25.6
QLD 25.8 20.0
SA 7.0 7.0
WA 13.1 10.8
TAS 3.0 2.0
NT 1.1 1.0
ACT 0.7 1.9


  • Around 66% of Earthmoving Plant Operators 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.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
45
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
2%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Earthmoving Plant Operators is 45 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 2% of the workforce. This is 46 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 Earthmoving Plant Operators All Jobs Average
15-19 1.0 5.0
20-24 4.9 9.3
25-34 20.1 22.9
35-44 22.5 22.0
45-54 27.1 21.6
55-59 11.5 9.0
60-64 8.1 6.0
65 and Over 4.7 4.2
Median Age 45 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 Earthmoving Plant Operator. Although some workers have a certificate III in civil construction plant operations.

Visit

  • My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
  • AAPathways website to explore Transport and Logistics Training Package 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 Earthmoving Plant Operators All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 0.2 10.1
Bachelor degree 0.9 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 2.8 11.6
Certificate III/IV 33.6 21.1
Year 12 13.3 18.1
Year 11 7.9 4.8
Year 10 and below 41.4 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 Earthmoving Plant Operators who are reliable and hardworking.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 52%

    Operation and control

    Controlling equipment or systems.

  • 43%

    Monitoring

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

  • 43%

    Operation monitoring

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

  • 43%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 41%

    Equipment maintenance

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

  • 41%

    Troubleshooting

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

  • 39%

    Active listening

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

  • 39%

    Critical thinking

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

  • 39%

    Quality control analysis

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

  • 39%

    Repairing

    Fixing machines or systems.

  • 37%

    Active learning

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

  • 37%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 36%

    Judgment and decision making

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

  • 36%

    Time management

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

  • 36%

    Complex problem solving

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

  • 34%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 34%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 32%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.

  • 30%

    Learning strategies

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

  • 29%

    Equipment selection

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


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 61%

    Building and construction

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

  • 53%

    Mechanical

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

  • 47%

    Administration and management

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

  • 47%

    Public safety and security

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

  • 46%

    Education and training

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

  • 40%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 40%

    Engineering and technology

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

  • 37%

    Technical design

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

  • 37%

    Customer and personal service

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

  • 34%

    Production and processing

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

  • 33%

    English language

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

  • 31%

    Physics

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

  • 28%

    Transportation

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

  • 27%

    Computers and electronics

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

  • 24%

    Personnel and human resources

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

  • 23%

    Chemistry

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

  • 23%

    Economics and accounting

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

  • 22%

    Clerical

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

  • 20%

    Geography

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

  • 18%

    Law and government

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


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 57%

    Control precision

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

  • 57%

    Depth perception

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

  • 57%

    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%

    Reaction time

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

  • 48%

    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).

  • 46%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 45%

    Near vision

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

  • 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%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 45%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 43%

    Arm-hand steadiness

    Keep your hand or arm steady.

  • 43%

    Auditory attention

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

  • 43%

    Multitasking

    Do two or more things at the same time.

  • 43%

    Perceptual speed

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

  • 41%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 41%

    Finger dexterity

    Put together small parts with your fingers.

  • 41%

    Inductive reasoning

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


Activities

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

  • 74%

    Driving vehicles or equipment

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

  • 71%

    Handling and moving objects

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

  • 68%

    Controlling equipment or machines

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

  • 61%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

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

  • 60%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

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

  • 58%

    Checking for errors or defects

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

  • 57%

    Coordinating the work of a team

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

  • 57%

    Doing physically active work

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

  • 55%

    Working with mechanical equipment

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

  • 55%

    Planning and prioritising work

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

  • 51%

    Communicating within a team

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

  • 51%

    Making decisions and solving problems

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

  • 50%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 49%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 48%

    Assessing and evaluating things

    Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.

  • 47%

    Collecting and organising information

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

  • 46%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 46%

    Looking for changes over time

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

  • 44%

    Estimating amounts, costs and resources

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

  • 39%

    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

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.

  • 62%

    Administrative

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

  • 48%

    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.
  • 71%

    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.

  • 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.

  • 52%

    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.

  • 48%

    Achievement

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

  • 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%

    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:
  • 96%

    Outdoors, exposed to weather

    Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.

  • 93%

    Wear common protective or safety equipment

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

  • 92%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 90%

    Using your hands to handle, control, or feel

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

  • 89%

    Very hot or cold temperatures

    Work in very hot or cold temperatures.

  • 89%

    Loud or uncomfortable sounds

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

  • 87%

    In an open vehicle or equipment

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

  • 87%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 85%

    In an enclosed vehicle or equipment

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

  • 85%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 84%

    Whole body vibration

    Be exposed to whole body vibration (e.g., operate a jackhammer).

  • 84%

    Dangerous equipment

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

  • 83%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 82%

    Exposure to contaminants

    Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.

  • 81%

    Contact with people

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

  • 80%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  • 79%

    Unstructured work

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

  • 79%

    Consequence of error

    Work where mistakes have serious consequences.

  • 77%

    Making repetitive motions

    Spend time making repetitive motions.

  • 74%

    Pace of work set by equipment

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

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, 47-2073.00 - Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators.


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