Technicians and Trades Workers

This image shows that there were 1,793,200 Technicians and Trades Workers as at November 2018, up 7.7% since November 2013. Employment is projected to grow by 5.5% over the five years to May 2023.
35% of jobs are regional. 17% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 24% of workers are self-employed. 10% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 60% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 5% of workers hold an other qualification. 25% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

Annual employment growth (%), Technicians and Trades Workers

Technicians and Trades Workers undertake a variety of skilled tasks, applying technical, trade or industry specific knowledge in construction, manufacturing, scientific, engineering and other activities. Around 1.8 million Australians are employed in this group, with more than a third in regional areas. More than 125,000 jobs have been added over the past five years, with a significant number created for Construction Trades Workers (46,000).

A relatively large proportion of this group are self-employed (24%), particularly Construction Trades Workers (46%). Full-time work is common and most workers in this group are male. Some occupations, however, have large shares of female workers, such as Veterinary Nurses (91%) and Medical Technicians (70%).

In which industries are Technicians and Trades Workers employed?

Construction accounts for the largest share of these workers (33%), followed by Manufacturing (14%) and Other Services (which includes automotive repair and maintenance) (13%).

Are qualifications required?

Around 60% of these workers hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification, with apprenticeships and traineeships providing a key training pathway for many occupations in this group. There were 173,200 trade apprentices and trainees in-training in June 2018. This number has fallen by 17% over the past five years, limiting the potential new supply of skilled workers.

Are there job opportunities?

The number of vacancies advertised on the internet for Technicians and Trades Workers has risen strongly over the past five years.

Reflecting the strong demand for these workers in recent years, along with the subdued training numbers, shortages are now apparent in a number of trade occupations.

Will there be future opportunities?

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 5.5% over the five years to May 2023, although there is marked disparity between occupation subgroups. Above average growth is projected for Food Trades Workers (up by 14.2%) and Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers (11.6%).

Top employing occupations, Technicians and Trades Workers

Top employing occupations
Occupation Number
Electricians 145,000
Carpenters and Joiners 134,600
Motor Mechanics 108,500
Metal Fitters and Machinists 107,700
Chefs 103,800
Plumbers 87,700
Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians 76,900
Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers 72,100
ICT Support Technicians 69,800
Gardeners 69,400
Hairdressers 60,500
Painting Trades Workers 56,700
Cooks 41,500
Plasterers 39,200
Medical Technicians 35,300
Bakers and Pastrycooks 35,100
Bricklayers and Stonemasons 34,700
Cabinetmakers 30,600
Other Building and Engineering Technicians 28,200
Telecommunications Trades Workers 27,700

Employment by occupation subgroup, Technicians and Trades Workers

Employment by occupation subgroup, Technicians and Trades Workers
Occupation subgroup Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
Employ’t Nov 2018  5 year change
to Nov 2018
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 2023
‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians 274.9 42.3 18.2 14 25 8 17 31 48 19 7.1
Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers 370.2 -4.7 -1.3 5 1 17 16 5 72 19 1.3
Construction Trades Workers 406.9 46.0 12.8 10 1 22 12 3 59 34 6.5
Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers 231.6 4.9 2.1 8 2 17 13 7 68 20 1.1
Food Trades Workers 200.1 40.1 25.1 29 32 18 12 12 57 26 14.2
Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers 124.8 3.7 3.1 33 29 18 21 9 46 38 11.6
Other Technicians and Trades Workers 188.3 5.7 3.1 33 46 14 19 6 65 25 1.5
All Technicians and Trades Workers1 1,793.2 127.7 7.7 16 15 17 15 10 60 25 5.5

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

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Education and Work; 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; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Skill Shortage Research; NCVER, Apprentices and Trainees

For more information see joboutlook.gov.au