Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators
Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators operate machines to manufacture and finish plastic and rubber products.
operating controls to regulate temperature, pressure, speed and flow of operation
measuring and loading materials, items and ingredients for mixing into machines and feeding mechanisms
monitoring operation, regulating material supply and adding chemicals and colorants to mixture
threading uncoated wire and cable through plastic coating machines, around take-up reels and through dies and cooling chambers
laying casings, beads, ply and rubber sheets on moulds
operating rollers to remove air
operating vulcaniser presses and controlling curing
examining output for defects and conformity to specifications
performing minor repairs and maintaining production records
- 711511 Plastic Cablemaking Machine Operators
- 711512 Plastic Compounding and Reclamation Machine Operators
- 711513 Plastics Fabricators and Welders
- 711514 Plastics Production Machine Operators (General)
- 711515 Reinforced Plastic and Composite Production Workers
- 711516 Rubber Production Machine Operators
- 711599 Other Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators
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 moderately
- is likely to reach 6,600 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 90% of people employed as Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 24 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,294 per week, this is much lower than weekly earnings for all jobs ($1,593).
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)
|Earnings||Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators||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||Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators||All Jobs Average|
Around 62% of Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria 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 Plastics and Rubber Production Machine 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 9% of the workforce. This is 39 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 Production Machine Operators||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.6||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 usually required to work as a Plastics or Rubber Production Machine Operator. 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 Production Machine Operators||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.9||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||27.6||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 Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators who are hardworking, can work well with others 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.
54%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
45%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Reading work related information.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Fixing machines or systems.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
32%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
32%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Teaching people how to do something.
29%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
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.
46%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
38%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
36%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.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
34%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
30%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
23%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
21%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
13%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
11%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
9%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
7%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
45%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
79%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
73%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
53%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
53%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
52%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
52%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
51%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
50%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
49%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
48%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
47%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
45%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
41%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
40%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
38%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
37%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
36%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
35%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
35%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
32%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.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
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.
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.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
Talk with people face-to-face.
91%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
90%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
87%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
84%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
83%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Work to strict deadlines.
79%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
79%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
79%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
78%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
76%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
75%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
75%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
73%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
69%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
Work with people in a group or team.
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, 51-4072.00 - Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.