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

    • Unavailable Weekly Pay
    • 2,800 workers Employment Size
    • Decline Future Growth
    • Entry level Skill level rating
    • Higher unemployment Unemployment
    • 51.7% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 32.4 hours Average full-time
    • 50.5 years Average age
    • 81.3% female Gender Share

    The number of Switchboard Operators fell over the past 5 years and is expected to fall over the next 5 years:
    from 2,800 in 2017 to 2,100 by 2022.
    There are likely to be around 1,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

    • Size: This is a very small occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was above average in 2017.
    • Location: Switchboard Operators work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.
    • Full-time: More than half work full-time (51.7%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunites to work part-time.
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 32.4 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 51 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (56.9%).
    • Gender: 81.3% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

    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
    20077500
    20084300
    20097500
    20105500
    20115800
    20126800
    20133100
    20144100
    20153900
    20164700
    20172800
    20222100

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

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

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Assistance32.2
    Public Administration and Safety21.2
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services11.6
    Wholesale Trade7.8
    Other Industries27.2

    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 2017, 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
    NSW25.631.6
    VIC37.826.2
    QLD20.219.7
    SA4.86.7
    WA4.110.8
    TAS0.72.0
    NT0.01.1
    ACT6.81.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
    15-197.8-5.25.2
    20-2411.2-9.99.9
    25-3410.9-23.623.6
    35-4413.3-21.721.7
    45-5419.7-20.820.8
    55-5924.1-8.88.8
    60-6413.1-6.06.0
    65 and Over0.0-4.04.0

    Education Level

    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.

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.

    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    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
    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, 43-2011.00 - Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service.

    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

    These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

    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
    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, 43-2011.00 - Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service.

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