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Material Handlers

What they do?

Material handlers (manual) perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Operate equipment to dump materials such as coal, ore and grain into or to remove materials from railway cars, trucks or other vehicles

B. Operate conveyors and equipment to transfer grain or other materials from transportation vehicles to elevators, bins or other storage areas

C. May perform other activities, such as opening containers and crates, filling warehouse orders, assisting in taking inventory and weighing and checking materials.

D. Load, unload and move products and materials by hand or using basic material handling equipment

E. Move household appliances and furniture onto and off moving trucks or vans

F. Set up rooms for events, dismantle moveable walls and partitions, and organize or set up office furniture

G. Perform other material handling activities such as counting, weighing, sorting, packing and unpacking.

Where they find work?

1. Wholesale trade - 21.0%
2. Transportation and warehousing - 17.0%
3. Retail trade - 15.0%
4. Food manufacturing - 5.0%
5. Wood product manufacturing - 5.0%
6. Administrative and support waste management and remediation services - 4.0%
7. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing - 3.0%

What education do I need?

1. Some secondary school education may be required.

2. Physical strength is required for manual material handlers who work with heavy materials.

3. Most recent entrants have a community college diploma.

High School Subject that will help:

1. Math
2. English
3. Mechanics
4. Physical Education

What can you expect to make:

The average hourly wages for Material Handlers is $14.02/HR, which is below average for occupations in the trades, transport and equipment operators sector and close to the average for all intermediate occupations. These wages grew at an average rate from 2002 to 2004.

Average Wage

Material Handlers wages

Expected Wage by Age

Material Handlers Wage By Age


10% of Material Handlers are unemployed. This rate is above the average for intermediate occupations.


Material Handlers Unemployment

Trends in Unemployment

Material Handlers Trends in Unemployment

Current Job Outlook:

The job outlook for Material Handlers is considered Below Average because:

1. Employment grew at an above-average rate.

2. Hourly wages ($14.02) are below the average ($18.07), and the rate of wage growth is also below average.

3. The unemployment rate (10%) is above the 2004 average (7%).

Future Job Prospects:

Your job outlook will continue to be Below Average because:

1. The employment growth rate will likely be below average.

2. The retirement rate will likely be below average, and the number of retiring workers should not contribute significantly to job openings.

3. The number of job seekers will likely match the number of job openings.

Highest Concetration:

The highest concentrations are found in Alberta and Prince Edward Island while the lowest concentrations are in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Unionization Rate:

The unionization rate (33%) is close to the average (32%) for all occupations.

Useful Experience:

1. Taking directions

2. Physical/outdoor work

3. Team environment

Part Time Workers

Material Handlers Part Time Workers

Part time workers:

13% of Material Handlers are employed only on a part-time basis. There were 196,600 workers employed in these occupations in 2004, an increase of 11% since 1997.

Age Demographics

Material Handlers Age Demographics

Age Demographics:

The relatively high percentage of younger workers suggests more entry-level positions and jobs that may serve as stepping stones in a career. The younger-than-average age (36) of worker will likely result in a below-average retirement rate to 2009.

Self Employed

Material Handlers Self Employed

Self Employed:

Roughly 1% of Material Handlers are self-employed. This is considered Below average for the industry as a whole.

Men vs Women

Material Handlers Men vs Women

Men vs Women:

19% of the individuals employed as Material Handlers are women. Compared to other industries, this is Average.