Freight and Furniture Handlers load and unload trucks, containers and rail cars, and transfer cargo between ships and other forms of transport and storage facilities.

A Year 10 Certificate, Certificate I, or a short period of on-the-job training is sometimes needed, but is not necessary to work in this job.

Tasks

  • labelling goods with customers' details and destinations
  • loading goods into trucks, containers and rail wagons, and securing loads
  • assisting to tie down loads and cover them with tarpaulins
  • guiding truck drivers into loading bays and through confined spaces
  • performing clerical functions to record and check cargo on arrival, storage and despatch
  • opening and closing hatches and securing cargo to prevent shifting during voyages
  • transferring loads using moving equipment and directing equipment operations using communication systems
  • stacking cargo on pallets, trays, flats and slings to facilitate transfer to and from ships

Job Titles

  • Freight Handler (Rail or Road)
  • Truck Driver's Offsider
  • Waterside Worker or Stevedore
  • Freight Handler (Rail or Road) (also called Freight Loader)

    Loads and unloads freight trucks, containers and rail cars.

  • Truck Driver's Offsider

    Loads and unloads trucks and containers.

    Specialisations: Furniture Removalist's Assistant

  • Waterside Worker or Stevedore (also called Wharf Labourer)

    Transfers cargo between ships and other forms of transport or storage facilities.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,329 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    15000
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    95.0%
  • Female Share

    5.0%
  • Full-Time Share

    64.0%

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This is a medium sized occupation employing 15,000 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 between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Freight and Furniture Handlers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Retail Trade; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 39.8 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,329 per week (similar to 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). Around 2 in 10 workers are young (aged 15 to 25 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
200514300
200612100
200711400
200816900
200913200
201018200
201113300
201213700
201315700
201416800
201515000
202013500

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.
EarningsFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings13291230

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.
CategoryFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs Average
Full-time6468.4
Part-time3631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)39.840

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 Warehousing64.4
Retail Trade7.8
Wholesale Trade5.5
Manufacturing5.4
Other Industries16.9

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.
StateFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs Average
NSW26.431.8
VIC15.225.5
QLD29.319.8
SA6.96.8
WA17.911.2
TAS1.82
NT1.31.1
ACT1.21.8

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 BracketFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-198.8-5.45.4
20-2415.2-9.99.9
25-3419.3-23.423.4
35-4420.3-21.721.7
45-5426.1-21.121.1
55-597.5-8.78.7
60-642.2-5.95.9
65 and Over0.6-3.83.8

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.
CategoryFreight and Furniture HandlersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males95Males53.6
Females5Females46.4

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 QualificationFreight and Furniture HandlersAll 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 1234.3-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1013.1-17.717.7
Below Year 1017.2-8.18.1

A Year 10 Certificate, Certificate I, or a short period of on-the-job training is sometimes needed, but is not necessary to work in this job.

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 Freight and Furniture Handlers who are physically fit, reliable, polite and courteous.

Knowledge

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

  1. English Language

    56% Important

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

  2. Mathematics

    52% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  3. Transportation

    49% Important

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

  4. Mechanical

    46% Important

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

  5. Production and Processing

    45% Important

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

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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. Performing General Physical Activities

    92% Important

    Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

  2. Handling and Moving Objects

    91% Important

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

  3. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    78% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  4. Controlling Machines and Processes

    74% Important

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

  5. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    72% Important

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

Occupational Information Network First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle 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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