Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers slaughter and eviscerate poultry, and process, grade and package meat, poultry, fish and shellfish.

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 Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education.

Tasks

  • processing offal and tripe
  • moving carcasses to chillers and freezers
  • loading meat products into trucks
  • packing boned and sliced meat into cartons
  • stunning and shackling poultry for killing and processing
  • severing jugular veins of poultry, and removing viscera and residual material from poultry carcasses
  • separating organs and glands, such as sweetbreads, livers, hearts and spleens, from poultry carcasses
  • inspecting and grading poultry, fish and shellfish for size and quality
  • packing fish and counting packs before freezing, and packing frozen fish blocks into cartons
  • operating machines which slice, peel, skin and crumb fish
  • cleaning and sanitising equipment and work areas

Job Titles

  • Meat Process Worker
  • Poultry Process Worker
  • Seafood Process Worker
  • Meat Process Worker

    Processes carcasses of slaughtered livestock and prepares meat and meat products.

    Specialisations: Offal Separator

  • Poultry Process Worker

    Stuns and kills, dresses, trims, cuts into portions, bones, fillets, weighs, grades and packages poultry.

    Specialisations: Poultry Boner, Poultry Slaughterer

  • Seafood Process Worker

    Scales, cleans, fillets, cuts, shells, grades and packages fish and shellfish.

    Specialisations: Abalone Sheller, Oyster Opener

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $850 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    stable
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    15800
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    74.9%
  • Female Share

    25.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    85.1%

Find Vacancies

This is a medium sized occupation employing 15,800 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Little change in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 5,001 and 10,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Manufacturing; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 36.5 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $850 per week (lower than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 36 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 7 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
200513700
200613500
200715700
200816200
200917600
201014700
201115900
201219000
201313600
201416100
201515800
202015500

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.
EarningsMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings8501230

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.
CategoryMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-time85.168.4
Part-time14.931.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)36.540

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)
Manufacturing79.6
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing10.7
Wholesale Trade5.2
Retail Trade2.7
Other Industries1.8

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.
StateMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs Average
NSW29.931.8
VIC25.725.5
QLD19.519.8
SA9.76.8
WA9.711.2
TAS5.42
NT0.11.1
ACT01.8

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 BracketMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-193.1-5.45.4
20-2410.4-9.99.9
25-3433.5-23.423.4
35-4417.9-21.721.7
45-5414.4-21.121.1
55-5912.5-8.78.7
60-647.3-5.95.9
65 and Over0.9-3.83.8

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.
CategoryMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males74.9Males53.6
Females25.1Females46.4

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 QualificationMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree6.1-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma6.5-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV8.1-18.918.9
Year 1232.8-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1033.2-17.717.7
Below Year 1013.4-8.18.1

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 Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education.

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 Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers who are reliable physically fit and have a good work ethic.

Knowledge

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

  1. Production and Processing

    69% Important

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

  2. Administration and Management

    66% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  3. Mechanical

    64% Important

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

  4. Food Production

    63% Important

    Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.

  5. Public Safety and Security

    60% Important

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

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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. Handling and Moving Objects

    79% Important

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

  2. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    77% Important

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

  3. Performing General Physical Activities

    75% Important

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

  4. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    68% Important

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

  5. Controlling Machines and Processes

    67% Important

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

Occupational Information Network Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers 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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