Technicians and Trades Workers

This image shows that there were 1,773,400 people employed as Technicians and Trades Workers as at November 2017, up 5.3% since November 2016 and 6.7% since November 2012. Employment is projected to grow by 4.8% over the five years to May 2022.
34% of jobs are regional (down 1 percentage point over 5 years).
14% of workers are female (no change over 5 years).
77% of workers hold post-school qualifications (up 4 percentage points over 5 years).
15% of jobs are part-time (up 1 percentage point over 5 years).
The median age is 38 years (up 1 year over 5 years).

Top 5 Technicians and Trades Worker Occupations

Top 5 Technicians and Trades Worker Occupations
Occupation Number
Electricians 158,700
Carpenters and Joiners 131,900
Motor Mechanics 109,900
Metal Fitters and Machinists 108,600
Chefs 94,600

Technicians and Trades Workers perform a variety of skilled tasks, applying technical, trade or industry specific knowledge in construction, manufacturing, scientific, engineering and other activities. Almost 1.8 million Australians work as Technicians and Trades Workers. Around 110,700 new jobs were created over the past five years, with a significant number added for Construction Trades Workers (up 57,900).

While the number of vacancies advertised on the Internet for these workers rose by 31% over the past five years, it remains well below the peak recorded in 2008. Vacancies, though, are advertised in a variety of ways other than online and many are filled through word of mouth.

More than 60% of Technicians and Trades Workers are employed in three industries: Construction (34%), Manufacturing (14%) and Other Services (which includes automotive repair and maintenance) (14%).

Around 64% of these workers hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification. Apprenticeships and traineeships provide a key training pathway for many occupations in this group. There were 268,600 apprentices and trainees in-training in 2017. This number has almost halved over the past five years, limiting the potential new supply of skilled workers. Persistent shortages exist in a number of trades occupations, reflecting a range of factors including low training numbers and high wastage (that is, people leaving their occupation).

Did you know?
Almost one quarter of Technicians and Trades Workers are self-employed

Educational attainment, Technicians and Trades Workers (%)

Shows the educational attainment profile of the Technicians and Trades Workers workforce.  Bachelor degree or higher 8%. Certificate III or higher VET qualification 64%. Other qualification 5%. No post-school qualification 23%.

Age profile, Technicians and Trades Workers (%)

Shows the age profile of the Technicians and Trades Workers workforce. 16% aged 15 to 24 years. 27% aged 25 to 34 years. 22% aged 35 to 44 years. 19% aged 45 to 54 years. 16% aged 55 years or older.

Young people (aged 15 to 24 years) account for 16% of those employed, with many being apprentices or trainees.

Full-time work is common in this group and most are male. Some occupations, however, have high shares of female workers, such as Veterinary Nurses (95%) and Hairdressers (84%).

The tasks performed in this group are diverse. Some are routine, manual tasks which may be susceptible to automation, although many occupations involve non-routine or unpredictable duties which are more difficult to automate. Technicians and Trades Workers employment is projected to grow by 4.8% over the five years to May 2022, although there is marked disparity between occupation subgroups. Above average growth is projected for Food Trades Workers (up by 10.2%) and Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians (9.5%).

Employment, Technicians and Trades Workers (‘000)

This line chart shows the number of people employed in the Technicians and Trades Workers occupation group over the period from November 1997 to November 2017. The chart shows employment increased steadily over this period to 1,773,400 in November 2017.

Employment by occupation subgroup, Technicians and Trades Workers

Employment by occupation subgroup, Technicians and Trades Workers
  Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
  Employ’t Nov 2017 5 year change
to Nov 2017
Part-time Female Aged 15 to 24 years Aged 55 years or older Bachelor degree or higher Cert III or higher VET qual No post-school qual 5 year change to May 2022
Occupation subgroup ‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians 247.7 5.7 2.4 15 23 8 18 27 49 18 9.5
Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers 370.7 11.4 3.2 6 1 16 17 2 78 17 -2.3
Construction Trades Workers 403.7 57.9 16.8 10 1 21 14 2 67 27 5.8
Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers 238.6 10.8 4.8 10 2 19 14 5 75 18 5.5
Food Trades Workers 187.6 23.5 14.3 27 31 17 12 10 53 32 10.2
Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers 135.8 9.7 7.7 30 27 16 20 8 46 38 9.5
Other Technicians and Trades Workers 195.3 5.8 3.1 27 44 16 18 8 63 24 0.0
All Technicians and Trades Workers1 1,773.4 110.7 6.7 15 14 16 16 8 64 23 4.8

1. Some data are trend and, for these, totals do not add

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Census of Population and Housing; ABS, Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Occupation Employment Projections; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Internet Vacancy Index; NCVER, Apprentices and Trainees

For more information see joboutlook.gov.au