Sewing Machinists operate industrial sewing machines to sew and finish garments and soft furnishings such as curtains.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Around one in four workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary.

Tasks

  • threading machines, inserting bobbins and positioning parts to be sewn
  • starting, stopping and controlling speed of machines with pedals and knee levers to coordinate actions of presser feet, clothes guides, blades and other attachments, and guiding parts under needles, following edges, seams and markings
  • changing needles and adjusting, securing and modifying attachments to machines
  • finishing items by cutting excess material and threads
  • operating thread trimming and other non-sewing machines
  • inspecting stitching for defects and notifying repair mechanics of machine malfunctions
  • performing basic maintenance such as lubrication of machines
  • may do laying up and bundling tasks
  • may ticket, label and finish work

Job Titles

  • Sewing Machinist
  • Sewing Machinist

    Specialisations: Embroiderer

Fast Facts

  • $749 Weekly Pay
  • 5,700 workers Employment Size
  • Decline Future Growth
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 54.0% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 34.9 hours Average full-time
  • 49 years Average age
  • 80.1% female Gender Share

The number of Sewing Machinists fell over the past 5 years and is expected to fall over the next 5 years:
from 5,700 in 2017 to 4,000 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 below average in 2017.
  • Location: Sewing Machinists work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Victoria or South Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Retail Trade; and Arts and Recreation Services.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn around $749 per week (lower than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (54%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunites to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 34.9 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 49 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (63.2%).
  • Gender: 80.1% 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
200714000
200814700
200911000
201014200
201110600
201212200
201310100
20148800
201510100
20168400
20175700
20224000

Weekly Earnings

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.
EarningsSewing MachinistsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings7491230

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)
Manufacturing76.6
Retail Trade20.0
Arts and Recreation Services1.1
Health Care and Social Assistance1.0
Other Industries1.3

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.
StateSewing MachinistsAll Jobs Average
NSW24.531.6
VIC38.326.2
QLD15.219.7
SA13.96.7
WA4.910.8
TAS2.92.0
NT0.31.1
ACT0.01.8

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 BracketSewing MachinistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-192.4-5.25.2
20-241.9-9.99.9
25-3423.2-23.623.6
35-449.3-21.721.7
45-5437.3-20.820.8
55-594.6-8.88.8
60-6419.1-6.06.0
65 and Over2.2-4.04.0

Education Level

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 QualificationSewing MachinistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree15.3-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma11.8-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV12.9-18.918.9
Year 1222.4-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1020-17.717.7
Below Year 1017.6-8.18.1

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job.
Around one in four workers have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is 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.
  • You might be interested in Textiles, Clothing & Footwear VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

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

Employers look for Sewing Machinists who are hardworking, can work well with others and are reliable.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Production and Processing

    53% Important

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

  2. Administration and Management

    46% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  3. English Language

    44% Important

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

  4. Mathematics

    40% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Mechanical

    39% Important

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

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, 51-6031.00 - Sewing Machine Operators.

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. Getting Information

    75% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  2. Controlling Machines and Processes

    67% Important

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

  3. Handling and Moving Objects

    64% Important

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

  4. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    62% Important

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

  5. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    60% Important

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

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, 51-6031.00 - Sewing Machine Operators.

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