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

  • $850 Weekly Pay
  • 21,800 workers Employment Size
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Entry level Skill level rating
  • Higher unemployment Unemployment
  • 75.5% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 40.1 hours Average full-time
  • 35 years Average age
  • 33.7% female Gender Share

The number of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to stay fairly stable over the next 5 years:
from 21,800 in 2017 to 22,300 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 14,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was above average in 2017.
  • Location: Meat, Poultry and Seafood Process Workers work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Many work full-time (75.5%, higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 40.1 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 35 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 33.7% 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
200713400
200817100
200916600
201014800
201116500
201216100
201316600
201414100
201519300
201619500
201721800
202222300

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

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)
Manufacturing83.4
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing7.9
Wholesale Trade6.4
Retail Trade1.5
Other Industries0.8

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 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.
StateMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs Average
NSW33.331.6
VIC25.926.2
QLD20.719.7
SA7.16.7
WA8.410.8
TAS4.32.0
NT0.21.1
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 BracketMeat, Poultry and Seafood Process WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-196.5-5.25.2
20-2410.5-9.99.9
25-3429.2-23.623.6
35-4427.5-21.721.7
45-5417.2-20.820.8
55-593.2-8.88.8
60-644.0-6.06.0
65 and Over1.9-4.04.0

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 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.

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 Australian Meat Processing and Seafood Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

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

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

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, 51-3023.00 - Slaughterers and Meat Packers.

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. 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
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, 51-3023.00 - Slaughterers and Meat Packers.

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