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

Specialisations: Embroiderer.

You can work as a Sewing Machinist without formal qualifications. Some on the job training may be provided. Training is also available through VET (Vocational Education and Training).

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

All Sewing Machinists

  • $865 Weekly Pay
  • Decline Future Growth
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 9,700 workers Employment Size
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • 57% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 41 hours Average full-time
  • 52 years Average age
  • 82% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Sewing Machinists (in their main job) fell over the past 5 years and is expected to fall over the next 5 years:
from 9,700 in 2018 to 8,500 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 4,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 800 a year).

  • Size: This is a small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
  • Location: Sewing Machinists work in many parts of Australia. Victoria has a large share of workers.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Retail Trade; and Other Services.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $865 per week (lower than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (57%, similar to the average of 66%), but there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 52 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (73%).
  • Gender: 82% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
200814700
200911000
201014200
201110600
201212200
201310200
20148900
201510100
20168200
20175700
20189700
20238500

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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 Earnings8651460

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Manufacturing71.7
Retail Trade9.0
Other Services5.9
Wholesale Trade3.9
Other Industries9.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSewing MachinistsAll Jobs Average
NSW29.131.6
VIC32.225.6
QLD19.720.0
SA6.57.0
WA10.110.8
TAS1.72.0
NT0.41.0
ACT0.31.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSewing MachinistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.9-5.05.0
20-242.5-9.39.3
25-347.7-22.922.9
35-4416.4-22.022.0
45-5432.4-21.621.6
55-5919.3-9.09.0
60-6413.6-6.06.0
65 and Over7.3-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). 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 Certificate0.9-10.110.1
Bachelor degree5.6-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma6.4-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV12.3-21.121.1
Year 1225.1-18.118.1
Year 116.7-4.84.8
Year 10 and below42.9-12.512.5

You can work as a Sewing Machinist without formal qualifications. Some on the job training may be provided. Training is also available through VET (Vocational Education and Training).

Thinking about study or training?

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

  • 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.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

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.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Production and processing

    33% Skill level

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

  2. Education and training

    25% Skill level

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  3. Administration and management

    24% Skill level

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  4. Mathematics

    22% Skill level

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Mechanical

    21% Skill level

    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 skills and 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.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Using your hands to handle, control, or feel

    91% Important

    Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.

  2. Indoors, heat controlled

    90% Important

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  3. Time pressure

    87% Important

    Work to strict deadlines.

  4. Being exact or accurate

    86% Important

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  5. Making repetitive motions

    85% Important

    Spend time making repetitive motions.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and 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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