Plumbers install, maintain and repair pipes, drains, guttering and metal roofing, mechanical services and related equipment for water supply, gas, drainage, sewerage, heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

A Certificate III/IV is usually needed to work in this job and the majority of workers have this qualification. Training is most commonly through an apprenticeship which combines on-the-job training with the qualification. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • studying blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems and materials required
  • setting out and installing hot and cold water systems and associated equipment
  • installing water-based fire protections systems, including fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems
  • designing and installing sanitary plumbing and water supply systems, discharge pipes and sanitary fixtures
  • fabricating and installing soil and waste stacks
  • assembling and installing mechanical services plant, air handling and conditioning equipment and small bore heating systems
  • installing sewerage and effluent pumping equipment and disposal systems
  • installing below-ground drainage systems and associated ground support systems
  • installing gas appliances, flues and pressure regulating devices
  • fabricating and installing metal roofing, rainwater goods and flashings

Job Titles

  • Plumber (General)
  • Airconditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber
  • Drainer
  • Gasfitter
  • Roof Plumber
  • Plumber (General)

    Installs and repairs water, drainage, gas and sewerage pipes and systems. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Fire Services Plumber, Sanitary Plumber, Water Plumber

  • Airconditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber

    Installs, maintains and repairs piping, ducting and equipment for heating, cooling and ventilation of buildings or vessels. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Ductfixing Plumber

  • Drainer

    Installs, maintains and designs below-ground drainage systems and associated sewerage or effluent disposal systems. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Septic Tank Installer

  • Gasfitter

    Installs, maintains and repairs gas mains, piping systems downstream of the billing meter, and appliances and ancillary equipment associated with the use of fuel gases, including liquefied petroleum gas systems. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Gas Main and Line Fitter, Liquefied Petroleum Gasfitter

  • Roof Plumber

    Installs, maintains and repairs flashings, metallic roof and wall claddings and rainwater products such as gutters and downpipes. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Industrial Roof Plumber

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,142 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Certificate III or IV
  • Employment Size

    87100
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    99.2%
  • Female Share

    0.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    89.4%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 87,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown.
Moderate growth 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.

  • Plumbers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They nearly all work in Construction.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 41.9 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,142 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 31 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 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
200567500
200671900
200766900
200874900
200970700
201084300
201179500
201278300
201378600
201479300
201587100
202094900

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.
EarningsPlumbersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings11421230

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.
CategoryPlumbersAll Jobs Average
Full-time89.468.4
Part-time10.631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)41.940

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)
Construction91.3
Public Administration and Safety2.4
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services2.3
Manufacturing0.8
Other Industries3.2

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.
StatePlumbersAll Jobs Average
NSW2831.8
VIC33.725.5
QLD17.919.8
SA5.46.8
WA10.211.2
TAS1.92
NT1.21.1
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 BracketPlumbersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-199.2-5.45.4
20-2419.2-9.99.9
25-3429.6-23.423.4
35-4418-21.721.7
45-5414.3-21.121.1
55-593.9-8.78.7
60-643.5-5.95.9
65 and Over2.2-3.83.8

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.
CategoryPlumbersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males99.2Males53.6
Females0.8Females46.4

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 QualificationPlumbersAll 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/IV69.3-18.918.9
Year 1213.6-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1017.1-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Certificate III/IV is usually needed to work in this job and the majority of workers have this qualification. Training is most commonly through an apprenticeship which combines on-the-job training with the qualification. Registration or licensing is required.

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 Plumbers who work well in a team, are hardworking and provide good customer service.

Knowledge

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

  1. Mechanical

    86% Important

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

  2. 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.

  3. Design

    74% Important

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  4. Customer and Personal Service

    67% Important

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

  5. Mathematics

    67% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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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. Getting Information

    82% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  2. Performing General Physical Activities

    80% 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. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    79% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  4. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    79% Important

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

  5. Handling and Moving Objects

    77% Important

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

Occupational Information Network Plumbers 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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