Freight and Furniture Handlers
Freight and Furniture Handlers load and unload trucks, containers and rail cars, and transfer cargo between ships and other forms of transport and storage facilities.
labelling goods with customers' details and destinations
loading goods into trucks, containers and rail wagons, and securing loads
assisting to tie down loads and cover them with tarpaulins
guiding truck drivers into loading bays and through confined spaces
performing clerical functions to record and check cargo on arrival, storage and despatch
opening and closing hatches and securing cargo to prevent shifting during voyages
transferring loads using moving equipment and directing equipment operations using communication systems
stacking cargo on pallets, trays, flats and slings to facilitate transfer to and from ships
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 in this occupation is likely to remain stable.
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 64% of people employed as Freight and Furniture Handlers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is similar to the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 43 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 $1,266 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,094
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,803
Median hourly earnings are $30, 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||Freight and Furniture Handlers||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 Freight and Furniture Handlers work in the Transport, postal and warehousing 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||Freight and Furniture Handlers||All Jobs Average|
Around 63% of Freight and Furniture Handlers live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.
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 Freight and Furniture Handlers is 38 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 6% of the workforce. This is 42 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||Freight and Furniture Handlers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.8||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 Freight or Furniture Handler. Some workers have a certificate II or III in transport and logistics (rail operations), road transport (freight handler), warehousing operations, driving operations or stevedoring.
- 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)
|Type of Qualification||Freight and Furniture Handlers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||27.1||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 Freight and Furniture Handlers who are physically fit, reliable, polite and courteous.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
41%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
39%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
32%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Talking to others.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
30%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.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Looking for ways to help people.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Fixing machines or systems.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
31%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
29%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
27%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.
23%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
22%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
21%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.
15%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
13%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
13%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
12%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
8%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Listen to and understand what people say.
Exercise for a long time without getting winded or out of breath.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
See details that are far away.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Read and understand written information.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Exercise for a long time without your muscles getting tired.
Communicate by speaking.
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.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
36%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
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.
71%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.
54%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
48%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
48%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
48%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
47%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
44%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
40%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
39%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
39%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
37%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
35%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
34%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
34%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
31%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
29%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
28%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
28%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
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.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
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.
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.
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.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Work with people in a group or team.
90%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
90%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Work to strict deadlines.
86%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
85%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
83%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
81%In an open vehicle or equipment
Work in an open vehicle (e.g., a tractor).
80%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
76%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
75%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
75%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
74%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
72%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
Talk on the telephone.
69%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
68%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
66%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
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, 53-7062.00 - Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand.
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.