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

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    High School or Certificate I
  • Employment Size

    17,100
  • 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 17,100 workers. The number of workers has grown very strongly over the past 5 years.
Over the next 5 years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to grow moderately to 17,700. Around 18,000 job openings are likely over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

  • 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 Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
200712100
200814800
200914300
201016200
201113900
201212500
201314400
201415600
201515500
201615600
201717100
202217700

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

Full-Time and Part-Time Status (% Share) and Average Weekly Hours (Full-Time)

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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-7062.00 - Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand.

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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-7062.00 - Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand.

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