Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators operate stationary and mobile cranes, hoists, lifts and winches to lift, move and place materials, equipment and people in areas such as building sites, factories, mines, sawmills, wharves and shipyards.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Around one in three workers have a Certificate III/IV. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • testing the operation of plant before use to ensure safety
  • operating controls to rotate cranes, move cranes on fixed rails, raise and lower jibs and booms, and raise, lower and move hooks and objects
  • working in conjunction with Construction Riggers and Crane Chasers to position hooks and raise, move and place loads
  • controlling the movement of loads, and monitoring speed, acceleration and braking distances directly and by signalling to other operators
  • monitoring plant operation, instruments and gauges to detect malfunctions and problems
  • lubricating ropes and winches on cranes and replacing worn cables
  • may operate cranes fitted with attachments for purposes such as demolition and pile driving
  • may operate overhead cranes using hand controls suspended by cables from cranes

Job Titles

  • Crane, Hoist or Lift Operator
  • Crane, Hoist or Lift Operator

    Specialisations: Chairlift Operator, Cherry Picker Operator, Elevated Work Platform Operator, Pile Driver, Portainer Operator, Tower Crane Operator, Winch Operator

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,493 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    Certificate II or III
  • Employment Size

    12,800
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    97.5%
  • Female Share

    2.5%
  • Full-Time Share

    92.7%

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This is a medium sized occupation employing 12,800 workers. The number of workers has fallen over the past 5 years.
Over the next 5 years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to fall to 12,100. Around 7,000 job openings are likely over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Construction; Manufacturing; and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 44.4 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,493 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 43 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was above average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
200711400
200814600
200912200
201013800
201111400
201213600
201314300
201415100
201515100
201614900
201712800
202212100

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. 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.
EarningsCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings14931230

Hours

Full-Time and Part-Time Status (% Share) and Average Weekly Hours (Full-Time)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-time92.768.4
Part-time7.331.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)44.440

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Construction50.3
Manufacturing14.2
Transport, Postal and Warehousing14.1
Mining7.8
Other Industries13.6

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW32.231.8
VIC18.825.5
QLD25.719.8
SA3.86.8
WA1611.2
TAS12
NT1.51.1
ACT11.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-192-5.45.4
20-245.7-9.99.9
25-3419.9-23.423.4
35-4430.8-21.721.7
45-5423.7-21.121.1
55-596.3-8.78.7
60-649-5.95.9
65 and Over2.7-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males97.5Males53.6
Females2.5Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationCrane, Hoist and Lift OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree0-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma0-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV35.4-18.918.9
Year 1218.9-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1039.4-17.717.7
Below Year 106.3-8.18.1

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job.
Around one in three workers have a Certificate III/IV. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing is required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators can communicate clearly, work well with others and are reliable.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Mechanical

    71% Important

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  2. Mathematics

    60% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  3. Transportation

    59% Important

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

  4. English Language

    58% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  5. Public Safety and Security

    55% Important

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-7021.00 - Crane and Tower Operators.

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.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Controlling Machines and Processes

    85% Important

    Operate machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  2. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    85% Important

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

  3. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    85% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  4. Handling and Moving Objects

    80% Important

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

  5. Getting Information

    79% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-7021.00 - Crane and Tower Operators.

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