Plumbers install, maintain and repair pipes, drains, guttering and metal roofing, mechanical services and related equipment for water supply, gas, drainage, sewerage, heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
studying blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems and materials required
setting out and installing hot and cold water systems and associated equipment
installing water-based fire protections systems, including fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems
designing and installing sanitary plumbing and water supply systems, discharge pipes and sanitary fixtures
fabricating and installing soil and waste stacks
assembling and installing mechanical services plant, air handling and conditioning equipment and small bore heating systems
installing sewerage and effluent pumping equipment and disposal systems
installing below-ground drainage systems and associated ground support systems
installing gas appliances, flues and pressure regulating devices
fabricating and installing metal roofing, rainwater goods and flashings
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
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 100,300 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 88% of people employed as Plumbers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 22 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 $1,419 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,254
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,669
Median hourly earnings are $35, 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||Plumbers||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 Plumbers work in the Construction industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Plumbers||All Jobs Average|
Around 41% of Plumbers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Victoria 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 Plumbers is 33 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 1% of the workforce. This is 47 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||Plumbers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.3||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
A certificate III in plumbing is usually needed to work as a Plumber. This course is often completed as part of an apprenticeship.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Construction, Plumbing and Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Plumbers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.2||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||6.6||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 Plumbers who work well in a team, are hardworking and provide good customer service.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Fixing machines or systems.
46%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
46%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
45%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
43%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.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
43%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Reading work related information.
Looking for ways to help people.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Talking to others.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
70%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.
60%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
58%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
52%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
49%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
41%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
40%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
27%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
26%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.
24%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
24%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Communicate by speaking.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
45%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Read and understand written information.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Keep your balance or stay upright.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
76%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
72%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
56%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
55%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
52%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
50%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
50%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
50%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
49%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
49%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
48%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
47%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
47%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
46%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
45%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
45%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
45%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
42%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.
38%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
89%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
88%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Talk on the telephone.
83%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
83%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work to strict deadlines.
82%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
81%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
81%Cramped work space
Work in an awkward position or in cramped work spaces.
80%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
80%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
80%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
79%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
78%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
78%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
77%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
76%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
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, 47-2152.02 - Plumbers.
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.