Switchboard Operators operate telecommunication switchboards and consoles to assist callers establish telephone connections, and receive caller inquiries and fault reports.

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

Tasks

  • operating switchboards and consoles to connect, hold, transfer and disconnect telephone calls
  • responding to callers' inquiries by providing information such as telephone numbers, dialling codes, call costs, time delays and service difficulties
  • investigating operating system problems and informing maintenance services
  • alerting emergency services when required
  • recording details and determining charges for designated types of calls
  • may monitor the efficiency of systems and maintain service sampling records

Job Titles

  • Switchboard or Telephone Operator

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      Unavailable
    • Future Growth

      decline
    • Skill Level

      High School or Certificate I
    • Employment Size

      4100
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      13.7%
    • Female Share

      86.3%
    • Full-Time Share

      68.4%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a very small occupation employing 4100 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.

    • Switchboard Operators work in most parts of Australia.
    • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services.
    • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 35.7 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
    • Around 9 in 10 workers are female.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below 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
    20058600
    20067100
    20075500
    20086300
    20096000
    20105700
    20116700
    20124700
    20133600
    20144600
    20154100
    20203700

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

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

    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.
    CategorySwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    Full-time68.468.4
    Part-time31.631.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)35.740

    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)
    Health Care and Social Assistance31.3
    Public Administration and Safety22.5
    Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services8.8
    Transport, Postal and Warehousing8.7
    Other Industries28.7

    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.
    StateSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW31.931.8
    VIC31.225.5
    QLD17.919.8
    SA136.8
    WA211.2
    TAS2.22
    NT01.1
    ACT1.71.8

    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 BracketSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190-5.45.4
    20-2413.7-9.99.9
    25-3425.6-23.423.4
    35-4425.9-21.721.7
    45-5413-21.121.1
    55-5912.6-8.78.7
    60-649.2-5.95.9
    65 and Over0-3.83.8

    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.
    CategorySwitchboard OperatorsCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males13.7Males53.6
    Females86.3Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

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

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

    • myfuture (login required) and the Good Education Group provide information about courses at all levels.
    • My Skills is the national directory of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and provides information about nationally recognised training and training providers that deliver it.

    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 Switchboard Operators who have good computer skills, can communicate clearly and can interact with a variety of people.

    Knowledge

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

    1. Customer and Personal Service

      81% Important

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

    2. English Language

      73% Important

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

    3. Telecommunications

      69% Important

      Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

    4. Clerical

      66% Important

      Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

    5. Computers and Electronics

      62% Important

      Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    Occupational Information Network Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service 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. Interacting With Computers

      89% Important

      Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

    2. Getting Information

      86% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

    3. Communicating with Persons Outside Organization

      84% Important

      Communicating with customers, the public, government, and others in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

    4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

      81% Important

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

    5. Building Good Relationships

      78% Important

      Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

    Occupational Information Network Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service 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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