Switchboard Operators operate telecommunication switchboards and consoles to assist callers establish telephone connections, and receive caller inquiries and fault reports.

Also known as: Telephone Operator.

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

Tasks

  • operating switchboards and consoles to connect, hold, transfer and disconnect telephone calls
  • responding to callers' inquiries by providing information such as telephone numbers, dialling codes, call costs, time delays and service difficulties
  • investigating operating system problems and informing maintenance services
  • alerting emergency services when required
  • recording details and determining charges for designated types of calls
  • may monitor the efficiency of systems and maintain service sampling records

All Switchboard Operators

  • $1,586 Weekly Pay
  • Decline Future Growth
  • Higher Unemployment Unemployment
  • 2,800 workers Employment Size
  • Entry level Skill level rating
  • 52% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 41 hours Average full-time
  • 45 years Average age
  • 81% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Switchboard Operators (in their main job) fell over the past 5 years and is expected to fall over the next 5 years:
from 2,800 in 2018 to 2,300 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 1,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 200 a year).

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was above average in 2018.
  • Location: Switchboard Operators work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,586 per week (similar to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Around half work full-time (52%, less than the average of 66%), showing 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 45 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (51%).
  • Gender: 81% 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
20084300
20097500
20105500
20115800
20126800
20133100
20144100
20154200
20164900
20172900
20182800
20232300

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.
EarningsSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings15861460

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)
Health Care and Social Assistance29.5
Public Administration and Safety15.6
Transport, Postal and Warehousing10.4
Administrative and Support Services6.2
Other Industries38.3

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.
StateSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW33.431.6
VIC23.325.6
QLD18.920.0
SA7.67.0
WA10.210.8
TAS2.72.0
NT1.11.0
ACT2.71.9

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 BracketSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-192.9-5.05.0
20-2413.3-9.39.3
25-3417.5-22.922.9
35-4415.4-22.022.0
45-5418.7-21.621.6
55-5912.5-9.09.0
60-6410.4-6.06.0
65 and Over9.3-4.24.2

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 QualificationSwitchboard OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate2.1-10.110.1
Bachelor degree9.0-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma10.1-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV15.2-21.121.1
Year 1230.4-18.118.1
Year 117.8-4.84.8
Year 10 and below25.4-12.512.5

You can work as a Switchboard Operator without formal qualifications. Some on the job training may be provided. Training may also be 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.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

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

Employers look for Switchboard Operators who have good computer skills, can communicate clearly and can interact with a variety of people.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    66% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. Clerical

    55% Skill level

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  3. English Language

    52% Skill level

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

  4. Computers and Electronics

    43% Skill level

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  5. Communications and Media

    37% Skill level

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.

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, 43-2011.00 - Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service.

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. Contact With Others

    98% Important

    How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

  2. Telephone

    95% Important

    How often do you talk on the telephone?

  3. Deal With External Customers

    94% Important

    How important is it to work with customers or the public?

  4. Spend Time Sitting

    93% Important

    How much time do you spend sitting?

  5. Frequency of Decision Making

    91% Important

    How often do you make decisions that affect other people?

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, 43-2011.00 - Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service.

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