Forklift Drivers operate forklifts to move bulk materials, containers, crates, palletised goods, cartons and bales.

Also known as: Forklift Operator or Fork Truck Operator.

Specialisations: Reach Truck Operator.

You can work as a Forklift Driver without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in warehousing operations might be helpful.

Tasks

  • operating controls to align forklifts and raise and lower forks to stack and unstack items in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals
  • operating forklifts which run on rails or use electronic guidance systems to control movements in narrow aisles
  • transporting goods to designated areas in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals
  • ensuring goods are stored in correct areas so that they can be easily located when orders are made up
  • monitoring equipment operation visually through gauges and instruments and through computerised monitoring equipment
  • inspecting and controlling equipment to identify wear and damage
  • servicing and performing minor repairs and adjustments to forklifts
  • may operate specialised trucks to carry items beneath elevated frames

All Forklift Drivers

  • $1,113 Weekly Pay
  • Moderate Future Growth
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 63,500 workers Employment Size
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • 86% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 42 hours Average full-time
  • 42 years Average age
  • 4% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Forklift Drivers (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow over the next 5 years:
from 63,500 in 2018 to 67,600 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 46,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 9,200 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
  • Location: Forklift Drivers work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Transport, Postal and Warehousing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,113 per week (below 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 42 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: 4% 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
200857900
200957200
201055000
201164100.0
201268100
201354800
201458300
201560600
201655400
201758100
201863500
202367600

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.
EarningsForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings11131460

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)
Manufacturing30.1
Transport, Postal and Warehousing28.8
Wholesale Trade13.7
Retail Trade11.2
Other Industries16.2

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.
StateForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
NSW31.631.6
VIC31.425.6
QLD17.820.0
SA7.67.0
WA9.410.8
TAS1.62.0
NT0.41.0
ACT0.21.9

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 BracketForklift DriversAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.8-5.05.0
20-248.0-9.39.3
25-3424.1-22.922.9
35-4424.4-22.022.0
45-5424.6-21.621.6
55-5910.0-9.09.0
60-646.0-6.06.0
65 and Over2.0-4.24.2

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 QualificationForklift DriversAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.7-10.110.1
Bachelor degree3.3-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma4.2-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV20.1-21.121.1
Year 1226.3-18.118.1
Year 1110.8-4.84.8
Year 10 and below34.5-12.512.5

You can work as a Forklift Driver without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. Training is available through VET (Vocational Education and Training). A course in warehousing operations might be helpful.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • high risk work licence
  • forklift licence
  • manual drivers licence
  • national police check

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.

Useful links and resources


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

Employers look for Forklift Drivers who are reliable, work well in a team and are hardworking.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Public Safety and Security

    44% Skill level

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

  2. Education and Training

    42% Skill level

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

  3. Production and Processing

    41% Skill level

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

  4. Transportation

    38% Skill level

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

  5. English Language

    38% Skill level

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

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, 53-7051.00 - Industrial Truck and Tractor 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. Sounds, Loud or Uncomfortable

    94% Important

    How often are you there sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?

  2. Time Pressure

    93% Important

    How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?

  3. Being Exact or Accurate

    92% Important

    How important is being very exact or highly accurate?

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

    91% Important

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

  5. Exposed to Contaminants

    90% Important

    How often are you exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours?

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, 53-7051.00 - Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators.

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