Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers
Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers slaughter and eviscerate poultry, and process, grade and package meat, poultry, fish and shellfish.
processing offal and tripe
moving carcasses to chillers and freezers
loading meat products into trucks
packing boned and sliced meat into cartons
stunning and shackling poultry for killing and processing
severing jugular veins of poultry, and removing viscera and residual material from poultry carcasses
separating organs and glands, such as sweetbreads, livers, hearts and spleens, from poultry carcasses
inspecting and grading poultry, fish and shellfish for size and quality
packing fish and counting packs before freezing, and packing frozen fish blocks into cartons
operating machines which slice, peel, skin and crumb fish
cleaning and sanitising equipment and work areas
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 strongly
- is likely to reach 22,500 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 72% of people employed as Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 6 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,139 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,028
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,386
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||Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process 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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 63% of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Queensland 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 Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers is 37 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 28% of the workforce. This is 20 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||Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.7||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 Meat, Poultry or Seafood Process Worker. Some workers have a certificate I or II in meat or seafood processing.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Australian Meat Processing and Seafood Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||1.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||36.2||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 Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers who are reliable physically fit and have a good work ethic.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Talking to others.
34%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.
29%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.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
27%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
25%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Teaching people how to do something.
23%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
21%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Reading work related information.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Using maths to solve problems.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
49%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
37%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
36%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
29%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
18%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
18%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
18%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
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.
13%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
11%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
36%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
78%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
60%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
54%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
52%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
52%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
51%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
47%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
45%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
44%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
43%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
41%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
40%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
39%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
38%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
36%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
35%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
35%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
34%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
33%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
32%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of 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.
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.
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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
97%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
96%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
91%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
90%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Work to strict deadlines.
87%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
87%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
87%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
85%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
83%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
80%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
80%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
80%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
78%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
77%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
75%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
Talk with people face-to-face.
68%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
67%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
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, 51-3023.00 - Slaughterers and Meat Packers.