Timber and Wood Process Workers
Timber and Wood Process Workers perform routine tasks in paper and pulp mills, sawmills, timber yards, and wood processing and timber products factories.
rolling logs from trucks and conveyors to log decks, saw carriages and stacking bays
placing logs and wood billets onto conveyors and lathes for processing into chips, veneers and pulp
sorting and stacking timber during milling
placing timber for processing by machines and unloading cut timber from tail end of machines
assisting with setting up and operating plant and ancillary equipment used in the manufacture of sheets and boards
transporting processed wood products, such as plywood, chipboard sheets and panels, to work areas
clearing blockages in machines
assisting with measuring and cutting materials
packing and loading finished products for transportation
cleaning work areas, tools and equipment
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 decline
- is likely to reach 4,800 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 79% of people employed as Timber and Wood Process Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 13 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 $1,116 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $971
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,276
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||Timber and Wood 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.
Most Timber and Wood Process 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||Timber and Wood Process Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 68% of Timber and Wood Process Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have a large share of employment relative to their 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 Timber and Wood Process Workers 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 8% of the workforce. This is 40 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||Timber and Wood Process Workers||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
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Timber or Wood Process Worker, although some workers have undertaken training.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Forest and Wood Products Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Timber and Wood Process Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||39.7||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 Timber and Wood Process Workers who work well in a team, with a strong work ethic and are polite and courteous.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
43%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
41%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Reading work related information.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
36%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Fixing machines or systems.
34%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
32%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.
Teaching people how to do something.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
40%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
26%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
26%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
25%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
25%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
17%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.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
13%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
9%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
7%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
7%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
7%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
6%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Exercise for a long time without getting winded or out of breath.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
See details that are far away.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
83%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
70%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
55%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
49%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
49%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
49%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
47%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
44%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
43%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
43%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
39%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
37%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
36%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
35%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
34%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
34%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
34%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
31%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
27%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
26%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
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.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
100%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Work near dangerous equipment like saws, machinery with open moving parts, or moving traffic.
95%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
94%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
92%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
90%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
90%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
89%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.
84%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
84%Pace of work set by equipment
Pace of work depends on the speed of equipment or machinery.
Work to strict deadlines.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
79%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
77%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
75%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
Work with people in a group or team.
74%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
72%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
71%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, 51-7041.00 - Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood.
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.