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

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Around one in three workers have Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be required.

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

Job Titles

  • Forklift Driver
  • Forklift Driver (also called Forklift Operator or Fork Truck Operator)

    Specialisations: Reach Truck Operator

Fast Facts

  • $1,000 Weekly Pay
  • 63,500 workers Employment Size
  • Moderate Future Growth
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • Higher unemployment Unemployment
  • 91.8% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 37.6 hours Average full-time
  • 42 years Average age
  • 2.7% female Gender Share

The number of Forklift Drivers 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 above average in 2017.
  • Location: Forklift Drivers work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Transport, Postal and Warehousing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn around $1,000 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (91.8%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%) showing part-time work may be hard to find.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 37.6 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 42 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 2.7% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

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
201268100
201354800
201458300
201560600
201655400
201758100
201863500
202367600

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. 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 Earnings10001230

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Manufacturing33.6
Transport, Postal and Warehousing26.6
Wholesale Trade17.7
Retail Trade6.9
Other Industries15.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateForklift DriversAll Jobs Average
NSW29.531.6
VIC33.426.2
QLD17.719.7
SA7.56.7
WA10.310.8
TAS1.32.0
NT0.21.1
ACT0.11.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketForklift DriversAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.8-5.25.2
20-2412.0-9.99.9
25-3420.1-23.623.6
35-4424.3-21.721.7
45-5422.0-20.820.8
55-5910.6-8.88.8
60-647.7-6.06.0
65 and Over2.5-4.04.0

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the 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 Certificate1.8-8.68.6
Bachelor degree0-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma5.3-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV23.1-18.918.9
Year 1220-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1035.9-17.717.7
Below Year 1013.8-8.18.1

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job.
Around one in three workers have Years 11 and 10 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary. Registration or licensing may be required.

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

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • 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.

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.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Public Safety and Security

    76% Important

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

  2. English Language

    71% Important

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

  3. Customer and Personal Service

    63% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  4. Production and Processing

    60% Important

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

  5. Mathematics

    59% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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

Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  1. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    92% Important

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

  2. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    87% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  3. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    82% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  4. Handling and Moving Objects

    82% Important

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

  5. Getting Information

    79% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

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