Earthmoving Plant Operators operate plant to excavate earth, ore and rock, break up pavement, road, rock and obstructions, move and load earth, rock and debris, and level, smooth and compact surfaces in construction and other projects.

    You can work as an Earthmoving Plant Operator without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in civil construction plant operations might be helpful.

    Tasks

    • preparing and positioning plant for operation
    • selecting, fitting and removing attachments such as buckets, winches, loading scoops, shovel blades and rock breaking hammers
    • operating controls to excavate, break, drill, level, compact, gouge out, move, load and spread earth, rock, rubble, soil and other materials
    • monitoring operation of plant and adjusting controls to regulate pressure, speed and flow of operation, and ensuring safety of other workers
    • raising, lowering and manipulating attachments using manual and hydraulic controls
    • working from drawings, markers and verbal instructions
    • servicing, lubricating, cleaning and refuelling plant and performing minor adjustments and repairs

    All Earthmoving Plant Operators

    • $1,491 Weekly Pay
    • Stable Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 46,400 workers Employment Size
    • Lower skill Skill level rating
    • 86% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 49 hours Average full-time
    • 45 years Average age
    • 2% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Earthmoving Plant Operators (in their main job) fell over the past 5 years and is expected to stay about the same over the next 5 years:
    from 46,400 in 2018 to 46,600 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 30,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 6,000 a year).

    • Size: This is a large occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Earthmoving Plant Operators work in many parts of Australia. Queensland has a large share of workers.
    • Industries: Most work in Construction; Mining; and Public Administration and Safety.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,491 per week (similar to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Most work full-time (86%, much higher than the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 49 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 45 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (51%).
    • Gender: 2% 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
    200853200
    200946000
    201058400
    201150500
    201247900
    201349700
    201450500
    201546300
    201640300
    201746700
    201846400
    202346600

    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.
    EarningsEarthmoving Plant OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings14911460

    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)
    Construction69.5
    Mining8.8
    Public Administration and Safety7.0
    Manufacturing2.6
    Other Industries12.1

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateEarthmoving Plant OperatorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW28.731.6
    VIC20.625.6
    QLD25.820.0
    SA7.07.0
    WA13.110.8
    TAS3.02.0
    NT1.11.0
    ACT0.71.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketEarthmoving Plant OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-191.0-5.05.0
    20-244.9-9.39.3
    25-3420.1-22.922.9
    35-4422.5-22.022.0
    45-5427.1-21.621.6
    55-5911.5-9.09.0
    60-648.1-6.06.0
    65 and Over4.7-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, 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 QualificationEarthmoving Plant OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.2-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree0.9-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma2.8-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV33.6-21.121.1
    Year 1213.3-18.118.1
    Year 117.9-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below41.4-12.512.5

    You can work as an Earthmoving Plant Operator without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in civil construction plant operations might be helpful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • construction induction card (white card)
    • high risk work licence
    • forklift licence
    • manual drivers licence
    • medium rigid (MR) driver's licence
    • heavy ridged (HR) driver's licence
    • national police check
    • drug and alcohol test
    • Psychometric or aptitude tests

    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 Transport and Logistics Training Package 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 Earthmoving Plant Operators who are reliable and hardworking.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Building and Construction

      61% Skill level

      Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.

    2. Mechanical

      53% Skill level

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

    3. Administration and Management

      47% Skill level

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

    4. Public Safety and Security

      47% Skill level

      Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

    5. Education and Training

      46% Skill level

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

    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, 47-2073.00 - Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment 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. Outdoors, Exposed to Weather

      96% Important

      How often do you work outdoors, exposed to the weather?

    2. Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment

      93% Important

      How often do you wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?

    3. Face-to-Face Discussions

      92% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    4. Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel

      90% Important

      How much time do you spend using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?

    5. Very Hot or Cold Temperatures

      89% Important

      How often do you work in very hot or very cold temperatures (above 32 or below 0 degrees Celsius)?

    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, 47-2073.00 - Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators.

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