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

  • $1,329 Weekly Pay
  • 17,100 workers Employment Size
  • Moderate Future Growth
  • Entry level Skill level rating
  • Higher unemployment Unemployment
  • 74.7% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 36.7 hours Average full-time
  • 35.5 years Average age
  • 5.5% female Gender Share

The number of Freight and Furniture Handlers grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow moderately over the next 5 years:
from 17,100 in 2017 to 17,700 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 18,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

  • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was above average in 2017.
  • Location: Freight and Furniture Handlers work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Manufacturing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Many work full-time (74.7%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 36.7 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 36 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (27.7%).
  • Gender: 5.5% 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
200712100
200814800
200914300
201016200
201113900
201212500
201314400
201415600
201515500
201615600
201717100
202217700

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.
EarningsFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings13291230

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)
Transport, Postal and Warehousing72.1
Manufacturing7.7
Wholesale Trade7.3
Retail Trade4.1
Other Industries8.8

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.
StateFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs Average
NSW35.431.6
VIC19.626.2
QLD17.519.7
SA6.26.7
WA15.910.8
TAS3.12.0
NT1.91.1
ACT0.31.8

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 BracketFreight and Furniture HandlersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-193.8-5.25.2
20-2423.9-9.99.9
25-3420.1-23.623.6
35-4417.8-21.721.7
45-5416.2-20.820.8
55-5911.4-8.88.8
60-645.0-6.06.0
65 and Over1.7-4.04.0

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 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.

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 Transport and Logistics Training Package VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

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

Employers look for Freight and Furniture Handlers who are physically fit, reliable, polite and courteous.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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

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

  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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