Garden and Nursery Labourers
Garden and Nursery Labourers perform a variety of routine tasks in propagating, cultivating and maintaining plants in gardens and horticultural nurseries.
loading, unloading and moving garden supplies and equipment
preparing garden sites and plots using hand tools and machines
assisting with planting and transplanting flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns
maintaining gardens by watering, weeding and mowing lawns
cleaning gardens and removing rubbish
assisting with propagating, planting and potting seeds, bulbs and cuttings
tending plants by hand watering and weeding
adjusting mist irrigation systems, shade and ventilation
harvesting and packaging plants for sale and transport
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 moderately
- is likely to reach 37,600 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 52% of people employed as Garden and Nursery Labourers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 14 percentage points below 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).
Median full-time earnings are $1,130 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $988
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,200
Median hourly earnings are $28, 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. 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||Garden and Nursery Labourers||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.
Garden and Nursery Labourers work in industries like:
- Administrative and support services
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Public administration and safety.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Garden and Nursery Labourers||All Jobs Average|
Around 56% of Garden and Nursery Labourers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Queensland has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
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 Garden and Nursery Labourers 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 18% of the workforce. This is 30 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||Garden and Nursery Labourers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||5.8||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 essential to work as a Garden or Nursery Labourer. Although some workers have a certificate II or III in horticulture.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Garden and Nursery Labourers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||1.0||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||30.5||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 Garden and Nursery Labourers who are hardworking, have a positive and enthusiastic attitude and are reliable.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
37%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Reading work related information.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
30%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.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
29%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
27%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Using maths to solve problems.
23%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
38%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
34%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
31%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
29%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
27%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
21%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
21%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
19%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
16%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
7%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Exercise for a long time without your muscles getting tired.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Exercise for a long time without getting winded or out of breath.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
See details that are far away.
43%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
39%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
61%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
49%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
47%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
43%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
43%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
41%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
40%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
40%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
37%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
36%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
35%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
Convincing people to buy something or to change their minds or actions.
34%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
32%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
30%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
30%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
27%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
27%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
26%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
23%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use 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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
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.
94%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
85%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%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
80%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
72%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work to strict deadlines.
70%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
69%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
68%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
64%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
62%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
Work with people in a group or team.
61%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
60%Outdoors, under cover
Work outdoors, under cover (e.g., in an open shed).
55%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
54%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
54%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
Talk on the telephone.
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, 45-2092.01 - Nursery Workers.
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.