Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators operate machines to manufacture paper packaging and other paper products, fibreboard stock, logs, plywood, particle board, solid laminate and similar timber products.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary.

Tasks

  • setting up printing plates, ink circulation systems, knives, creases, cutting dies, and folding and gluing machines
  • loading machines with paper and fibreboard
  • operating machines to form cardboard containers, paper plates, egg cartons, tissue paper and other paper products
  • adjusting and cleaning machines and performing minor repairs
  • securing timber into place and setting saws to produce specified sizes of plank and board to be cut
  • starting machines and feeding stock onto cutting saw, and operating automatic feed mechanisms
  • raising and lowering saws to trim boards and remove defects such as rot and splits
  • controlling lathes and slicing machines to produce veneers, and laminating veneer using glue
  • verifying dimensions of cut stock and accuracy of cuts
  • checking saws and other machines for safety, sharpness and correct functioning

Job Titles

  • Paper Products Machine Operator
  • Sawmilling Operator or Sawmiller
  • Other Wood Processing Machine Operator
  • Paper Products Machine Operator

    Operates machines to manufacture paper packaging and other products from paper and fibreboard stock.

    Specialisations: Carton Making Machinist, Embosser, Paper Bag Making Machinist

  • Sawmilling Operator or Sawmiller

    Sets up and operates machines to cut logs into planks of standard sizes.

    Specialisations: Band Saw Operator, Beam Saw Operator, Cant Gang Sawyer, Resawyer, Ripsaw Operator

  • Other Wood Processing Machine Operator

    Operates machines that strip and prepare logs, remove bark, cut logs and timber, create wood chips, and cut, glue, press, trim, sand, splice, mould and repair wooden boards of various grades, forms and combinations.

    Specialisations: Debarker Operator, Docking Saw Operator, Log Preparer, Plywood and Veneer Repairer, Sawmill Moulder Operator, Veneer Production Machine Operator

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,036 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    Certificate II or III
  • Employment Size

    3,500
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    90.3%
  • Female Share

    9.7%
  • Full-Time Share

    89.4%

Find Vacancies

This is a very small occupation employing 3500 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen.
A fall in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Manufacturing; Wholesale Trade; and Health Care and Social Assistance.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 37.0 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,036 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly mature. The average age is 48 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 6 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
20058000
200610200
20079700
20087900
20093400
20106700
20115400
20127600
20137100
20144400
20153500
20203200

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.
EarningsPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10361230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

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.
CategoryPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-time89.468.4
Part-time10.631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.040.0

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)
Manufacturing74.0
Wholesale Trade8.2
Health Care and Social Assistance6.8
Construction4.5
Other Industries6.5

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.
StatePaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW34.331.8
VIC30.325.5
QLD24.719.8
SA2.66.8
WA2.811.2
TAS3.32.0
NT0.61.1
ACT1.41.8

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 BracketPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.45.4
20-248.8-9.99.9
25-347.7-23.423.4
35-4422.9-21.721.7
45-5436.2-21.121.1
55-595.7-8.78.7
60-6418.2-5.95.9
65 and Over0.5-3.83.8

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.
CategoryPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males90.3Males53.6
Females9.7Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary.

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 Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators who are hardworking, have good people skills and are reliable.

Knowledge

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

  1. Production and Processing

    81% Important

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  2. English Language

    77% Important

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

  3. Mechanical

    68% Important

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

  4. Mathematics

    59% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Customer and Personal Service

    56% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

Occupational Information Network Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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

    83% Important

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

  2. Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings

    82% Important

    Checking objects, actions, or events, keeping an eye out for problems.

  3. Getting Information

    80% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    79% Important

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

  5. Handling and Moving Objects

    78% Important

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

Occupational Information Network Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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