Forklift Drivers operate forklifts to move bulk materials, containers, crates, palletised goods, cartons and bales.

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 Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be required.

Tasks

  • operating controls to align forklifts and raise and lower forks to stack and unstack items in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals
  • operating forklifts which run on rails or use electronic guidance systems to control movements in narrow aisles
  • transporting goods to designated areas in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals
  • ensuring goods are stored in correct areas so that they can be easily located when orders are made up
  • monitoring equipment operation visually through gauges and instruments and through computerised monitoring equipment
  • inspecting and controlling equipment to identify wear and damage
  • servicing and performing minor repairs and adjustments to forklifts
  • may operate specialised trucks to carry items beneath elevated frames

Job Titles

  • Forklift Driver
  • Forklift Driver (also called Forklift Operator or Fork Truck Operator)

    Specialisations: Reach Truck Operator

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,000 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Certificate II or III
  • Employment Size

    60700
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    95.6%
  • Female Share

    4.4%
  • Full-Time Share

    91.6%

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This is a very large occupation employing 60,700 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen slightly.
Moderate growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 25,001 and 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Forklift Drivers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Manufacturing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 37.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,000 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 41 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 Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200558300
200649800
200760100
200859400
200956100
201063900
201159300
201264000
201354000
201461800
201560700
202062500

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.
EarningsForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10001230

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.
CategoryForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
Full-time91.668.4
Part-time8.431.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.640

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)
Transport, Postal and Warehousing29.5
Manufacturing29.3
Wholesale Trade20
Retail Trade8.6
Other Industries12.6

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.
StateForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
NSW27.231.8
VIC32.325.5
QLD18.919.8
SA7.66.8
WA12.211.2
TAS1.42
NT0.21.1
ACT0.11.8

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 BracketForklift DriversAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.8-5.45.4
20-2412.2-9.99.9
25-3420.1-23.423.4
35-4423.4-21.721.7
45-5425.5-21.121.1
55-599.8-8.78.7
60-647.3-5.95.9
65 and Over1-3.83.8

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.
CategoryForklift DriversCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males95.6Males53.6
Females4.4Females46.4

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 QualificationForklift DriversAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate1.8-8.68.6
Bachelor degree0-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma5.3-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV23.1-18.918.9
Year 1220-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1035.9-17.717.7
Below Year 1013.8-8.18.1

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 Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be 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 Forklift Drivers who are reliable, work well in a team and are hardworking.

Knowledge

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

  1. Public Safety and Security

    76% Important

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

  2. English Language

    71% Important

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

  3. Customer and Personal Service

    63% Important

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

  4. Production and Processing

    60% Important

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

  5. Mathematics

    59% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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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. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    92% Important

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

  2. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    87% Important

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

  3. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    82% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  4. Handling and Moving Objects

    82% 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 Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 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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