Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators

ANZSCO ID 7115

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
7,100
Future Growth
7.4%
Weekly Earnings
$1,294
Full-Time Share
90%
Female Share
9%
Average age
43

Summary

Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators operate machines to manufacture and finish plastic and rubber products.

Tasks

  • 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


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:

  • 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.

Projected Change
7.4%
(or 500 jobs)
From
6,200
in 2021
To
6,600
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 13,800
2012 8,600
2013 8,900
2014 9,500
2015 8,200
2016 8,400
2017 6,100
2018 7,900
2019 9,200
2020 7,600
2021 6,200
2026 6,600

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 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)

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 Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings 1,294 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
Manufacturing
89.5%
2
Retail Trade
3.5%
3
Administrative and Support Services
3.5%
4
Mining
1.8%
5
Other industries
3.5%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

23.9% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

32.8% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

20.1% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

7.8% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

13.3% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

1.7% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

0.5% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

0.0% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators All Jobs Average
NSW 23.9 31.6
VIC 32.8 25.6
QLD 20.1 20.0
SA 7.8 7.0
WA 13.3 10.8
TAS 1.7 2.0
NT 0.5 1.0
ACT 0.0 1.9


  • 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.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
43
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
9%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • 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)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators All Jobs Average
15-19 1.6 5.0
20-24 6.9 9.3
25-34 20.7 22.9
35-44 23.8 22.0
45-54 26.1 21.6
55-59 11.3 9.0
60-64 7.0 6.0
65 and Over 2.6 4.2
Median Age 43 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 usually required to work as a Plastics or Rubber Production Machine Operator. Some workers have a certificate II or III in polymer processing.

Visit

  • 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)

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 Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 0.9 10.1
Bachelor degree 4.5 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 5.4 11.6
Certificate III/IV 30.3 21.1
Year 12 22.9 18.1
Year 11 8.4 4.8
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

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 55%

    Operation monitoring

    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.

  • 43%

    Active listening

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

  • 43%

    Monitoring

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

  • 43%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 39%

    Equipment maintenance

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

  • 39%

    Troubleshooting

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

  • 37%

    Critical thinking

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

  • 37%

    Repairing

    Fixing machines or systems.

  • 36%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 34%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 34%

    Time management

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

  • 32%

    Active learning

    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.

  • 30%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.

  • 30%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 29%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 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.

  • 55%

    Mechanical

    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.

  • 41%

    Mathematics

    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.

  • 36%

    English language

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

  • 35%

    Physics

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

  • 35%

    Chemistry

    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.

  • 26%

    Psychology

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

  • 24%

    Technical design

    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.

  • 14%

    Clerical

    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.

  • 5%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 48%

    Static strength

    Lift, push, pull, or carry things.

  • 46%

    Near vision

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

  • 46%

    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%

    Control precision

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

  • 45%

    Perceptual speed

    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).

  • 45%

    Finger dexterity

    Put together small parts with your fingers.

  • 45%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 45%

    Reaction time

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

  • 43%

    Manual dexterity

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

  • 43%

    Multilimb coordination

    Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.

  • 43%

    Categorising

    Come up with different ways of grouping things.

  • 43%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 43%

    Problem spotting

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

  • 43%

    Rate control

    Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.

  • 43%

    Trunk strength

    Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.

  • 43%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 41%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 39%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.


Activities

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

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.

  • 71%

    Administrative

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

  • 52%

    Analytical

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

  • 24%

    Creative

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

  • 19%

    Enterprising

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

  • 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.
  • 67%

    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.

  • 43%

    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.

  • 38%

    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.

  • 33%

    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.

  • 29%

    Achievement

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

  • 29%

    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%

    Wear common protective or safety equipment

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

  • 93%

    Face-to-face discussions

    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.

  • 85%

    Dangerous equipment

    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.

  • 79%

    Time pressure

    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.

  • 77%

    Unstructured work

    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.

  • 69%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

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, 51-4072.00 - Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.


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