Food and Drink Factory Workers
Food and Drink Factory Workers perform routine tasks in manufacturing food and beverages.
weighing, measuring, mixing, dissolving and boiling ingredients
adding materials, such as spices and preservatives, to food and beverages
operating heating, chilling, freezing, pasteurising, carbonating, sulphuring and desulphuring plant
monitoring product quality before packaging by inspecting, taking samples and adjusting treatment conditions when necessary
operating machines to peel, core, slice, dice, pit and juice fruit and vegetables
cleaning equipment, pumps, hoses, storage tanks, vessels and floors, and maintaining infestation control programs
regulating speed of conveyors and crusher rollers, and adjusting tension of rollers to ensure total extraction of juice from sugar cane
moving products from production lines into storage and shipping areas
packaging and bottling products
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 grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 23,300 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 75% of people employed as Food and Drink Factory Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 9 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 42 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to 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 $1,310 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,020
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,585
Median hourly earnings are $31, this is lower than 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)
|Earnings||Food and Drink Factory Workers||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.
Most Food and Drink Factory Workers work in the Manufacturing industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Food and Drink Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 50% of Food and Drink Factory Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Victoria and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their 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 Food and Drink Factory Workers is 41 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 30% of the workforce. This is 18 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||Food and Drink Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.1||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 Food or Drink Factory Worker. Although some workers have a certificate II or III in food processing.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Food Processing VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Food and Drink Factory Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||2.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||26.1||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 Food and Drink Factory Workers who are reliable, hardworking and have good people skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
43%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Reading work related information.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
39%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
36%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Using maths to solve problems.
30%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Looking for ways to help people.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
51%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
41%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
38%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
32%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
31%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
29%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
24%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
19%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
13%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
12%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
12%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
48%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Read and understand written information.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Tell the difference between sounds.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
80%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
65%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
65%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
57%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
55%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
55%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
52%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
52%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
49%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
49%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
48%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
47%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
47%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
46%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
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%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
38%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
36%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
33%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process 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 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 forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
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.
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.
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.
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.
89%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
86%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
85%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
84%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
83%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
83%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.
80%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work to strict deadlines.
80%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
78%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
75%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
74%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
73%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
72%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
71%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
71%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
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, 51-3092.00 - Food Batchmakers.
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.