Excavator Operators operate heavy excavation plants to excavate, move and load earth, rock and rubble.

Specialisations: Hydraulic Rockbreaker Operator, Trench Digging Machine Operator.

You can work as an Excavator 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

  • Prepares and positions plant for operation.
  • Selects, fits and removes attachments such as buckets, winches, loading scoops, shovel blades and rock breaking hammers.
  • Operates controls to excavate, break, drill, level, compact, gouge out, move, load and spread earth, rock, rubble, soil and other materials.
  • Monitors operation of plant and adjusts controls to regulate pressure, speed and flow of operation, and ensures safety of other workers.
  • Raises, lowers and manipulates attachments using manual and hydraulic controls.
  • Works from drawings, markers and verbal instructions.
  • Services, lubricates, cleans and refuels plant and performs minor adjustments and repairs.

All Earthmoving Plant Operators

  • $1,491 Weekly Pay
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment

Excavator Operators

  • 9,500 workers Employment Size
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • 85% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 48 hours Average full-time
  • 42 years Average age
  • 1% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Excavator Operators (in their main job) grew moderately over 5 years:
from 9,100 in 2011 to 9,500 in 2016.

  • Size: This is a small occupation.
  • Location: Excavator Operators work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Construction; Mining; and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (85%, much higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 48 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 42 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 1% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

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)
Construction80.9
Mining5.0
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services3.1
Public Administration and Safety2.0
Other Industries9.0

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.
StateExcavator OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW35.131.6
VIC24.525.6
QLD21.820.0
SA4.97.0
WA6.810.8
TAS4.92.0
NT1.01.0
ACT1.01.9

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 BracketExcavator OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-191.1-5.05.0
20-245.7-9.39.3
25-3424.9-22.922.9
35-4425.5-22.022.0
45-5425.0-21.621.6
55-599.0-9.09.0
60-646.1-6.06.0
65 and Over2.7-4.24.2

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 QualificationExcavator OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.0-10.110.1
Bachelor degree0.5-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma2.5-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV35.6-21.121.1
Year 1213.5-18.118.1
Year 117.9-4.84.8
Year 10 and below40.0-12.512.5

You can work as an Excavator 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:

  • excavator ticket
  • construction induction card (white card)
  • forklift licence
  • manual drivers licence
  • heavy ridged (HR) driver's licence
  • national police check
  • 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. Mechanical

    54% Skill level

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

  2. Building and Construction

    52% Skill level

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

  3. Public Safety and Security

    44% Skill level

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

  4. Mathematics

    37% Skill level

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Administration and Management

    33% Skill level

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

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, 53-7032.00 - Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline 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. Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment

    99% Important

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

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

    94% Important

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

  3. Face-to-Face Discussions

    90% Important

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

  4. Work With Work Group or Team

    89% Important

    How important is it to work with others in a group or team?

  5. Contact With Others

    88% Important

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

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, 53-7032.00 - Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators.

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