Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers
Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers perform routine tasks in manufacturing plastic and rubber products.
dumping material into hoppers of machines
stopping moulding machines and discharging contents
cutting foam products from foam blocks
cleaning, smoothing and waxing moulds for making products
brushing and spraying release agents onto moulds to assist with the removal of moulded products
building up layers of fibreglass and resin on moulds
cleaning work areas, tools and equipment
may smooth rough edges of moulds using files, grinders and sanders
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 decline
- is likely to reach 1,300 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 80% of people employed as Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 14 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 40 hours per week in their main job. This is 4 hours less than 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.
Most Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers work in the Manufacturing industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 73% of Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The region with the largest share of workers is Melbourne - Outer East.
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 Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers 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 25% of the workforce. This is 23 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||Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.7||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 Plastics or Rubber Factory Worker. Although some workers have a certificate II or III in polymer processing.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Plastics, Rubber & Cablemaking VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||1.2||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||37.9||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 Plastics and Rubber Factory Workers who work well in a team, can communicate clearly and are reliable.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
48%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
46%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
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.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
43%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
41%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Fixing machines or systems.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
37%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
51%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
49%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
37%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.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
30%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
30%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
27%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
25%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
21%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
19%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
11%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Communicate by speaking.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
45%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Tell the difference between sounds.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
80%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
80%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
56%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
51%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
51%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
50%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
50%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
50%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
50%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
50%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
49%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
47%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
45%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
44%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
44%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
41%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
41%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
36%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
35%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
33%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
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.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
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.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
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.
100%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
93%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
92%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Talk with people face-to-face.
89%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
86%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
85%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
Work to strict deadlines.
Work with people in a group or team.
77%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
76%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
75%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
75%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
74%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
74%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
73%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
72%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
70%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
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, 51-4081.00 - Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.
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.