Building and Plumbing Labourers perform a variety of routine tasks associated with erecting and repairing structures and facilities, maintaining stormwater, drainage and sewerage systems, excavating earth and clearing and levelling sites, and installing and maintaining piping systems, fixtures and water regulators.

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. Around one in three workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Sometimes additional tickets are required to work in this job.

Tasks

  • loading and unloading building and construction materials, tools and equipment and transporting them around building sites
  • erecting and dismantling temporary structures such as barricades and scaffolding
  • mixing, pouring and spreading materials such as concrete, plaster and mortar
  • cleaning and carrying out minor repairs on stormwater drains and canals, and checking for cracks and leaks in sewerage systems
  • digging holes and shovelling excavated material onto conveyors, wheelbarrows and trucks for removal
  • spreading and levelling soil, gravel and sand on roads and driveways, trench bottoms and similar locations
  • assisting with assembling and installing piping, valves and fittings
  • assisting with installing fixtures such as toilets, wash basins and sprinkler systems

Job Titles

  • Builder's Labourer
  • Drainage, Sewerage and Stormwater Labourer
  • Earthmoving Labourer
  • Plumber's Assistant
  • Builder's Labourer (also called Construction Worker)

    Performs routine tasks in erecting and repairing structures and facilities on building and construction sites and in factories producing prefabricated building components.

    Specialisations: Bricklayer's Assistant, Carpenter's Assistant, Tiler's Assistant

  • Drainage, Sewerage and Stormwater Labourer

    Performs routine tasks in maintaining drainage, sewerage and stormwater systems.

  • Earthmoving Labourer

    Performs routine tasks in excavating earth, clearing and levelling sites, and digging irrigation channels.

    Specialisations: Grave Digger

  • Plumber's Assistant

    Performs routine tasks in fabricating, laying, installing and maintaining pipes, fixtures, water meters and regulators.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,100 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    stable
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    54700
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    97.7%
  • Female Share

    2.3%
  • Full-Time Share

    82.7%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 54,700 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has stayed about the same.
Little change in the number of jobs 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.

  • Building and Plumbing Labourers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Construction; Public Administration and Safety; and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services.
  • Full-time work is very 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 $1,100 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 workforce is fairly young. The average age is 32 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Around 3 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
200548700
200653400
200757300
200855400
200949500
201055400
201151200
201246300
201350400
201455400
201554700
202053500

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.
EarningsBuilding and Plumbing LabourersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings11001230

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.
CategoryBuilding and Plumbing LabourersAll Jobs Average
Full-time82.768.4
Part-time17.331.6
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)
Construction77.5
Public Administration and Safety5
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services3.8
Manufacturing3.8
Other Industries9.9

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.
StateBuilding and Plumbing LabourersAll Jobs Average
NSW37.631.8
VIC21.425.5
QLD20.219.8
SA5.46.8
WA10.211.2
TAS1.72
NT2.11.1
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 BracketBuilding and Plumbing LabourersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-199.5-5.45.4
20-2416.4-9.99.9
25-3429.6-23.423.4
35-4421.8-21.721.7
45-5413.1-21.121.1
55-594.9-8.78.7
60-642.6-5.95.9
65 and Over2-3.83.8

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.
CategoryBuilding and Plumbing LabourersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males97.7Males53.6
Females2.3Females46.4

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 QualificationBuilding and Plumbing LabourersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree2.6-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma1.2-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV29.2-18.918.9
Year 1234.2-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1023.6-17.717.7
Below Year 109.2-8.18.1

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.
Around one in three workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Sometimes additional tickets are required 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 Building and Plumbing Labourers who are reliable, have a strong work ethic and are physically fit.

Knowledge

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

  1. Building and Construction

    82% Important

    Materials, methods, and the tools used to construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

  2. Mechanical

    71% Important

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

  3. Administration and Management

    69% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  4. Public Safety and Security

    67% Important

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

  5. Mathematics

    65% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

Occupational Information Network Construction Laborers 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. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    84% Important

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

  2. Performing General Physical Activities

    82% Important

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

  3. Handling and Moving Objects

    81% Important

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

  4. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    75% Important

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

  5. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    74% Important

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

Occupational Information Network Construction Laborers 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

go to top