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Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane)

What they do?

Heavy equipment operators perform some or all of the following duties:

A. Operate heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, loaders and graders to excavate, move, load and grade earth, rock, gravel or other materials during construction and related activities

B. Operate bulldozers or other heavy equipment to clear brush and stumps prior to logging activities and to build roads at logging and surface mining sites

C. Operate heavy equipment with pile driver head to drive piling into earth to provide support for buildings, bridges or other structures

D. Operate heavy dredging equipment to deepen waterways or reclaim earth fill

E. Operate heavy paving and surfacing equipment to lay, spread or compact concrete, asphalt and other surface materials during highway and road construction

F. Operate power shovels to excavate rock, ore or other materials from open-pit mines, strip mines, quarries or construction pits

G. Operate heavy equipment to move, load and unload cargo

Where they find work?

1. Construction - 54.0%
2. Mining (except oil and gas) - 8.0%
3. Transportation and warehousing - 6.0%
4. Public administration - 4.0%
5. Farms - 3.0%
6. Administrative and support waste management and remediation services - 3.0%
7. Wood product manufacturing - 3.0%

What education do I need?

1. Some secondary school education is required.

2. Completion of a one- to two-year apprenticeship program or Some high school, college or industry courses in heavy equipment operating combined with on-the-job training are required.

3. Trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.

4. Internal company certification may be required by some employers.

5. Most recent entrants have a trade/vocational certificate, and almost 3 in 10 have a community college diploma.

High School Subject that will help:

1. English
2. Physics
3. Mechanics
4. Machine Shop

What can you expect to make:

The average hourly wages for Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) is $18.94/HR, which is close to the average for occupations in the trades, transport and equipment operators sector and above average for all intermediate occupations. These wages grew at an average rate from 2002 to 2004.

Average Wage

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) wages

Expected Wage by Age

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Wage By Age


12% of Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) are unemployed. This rate is above the average for intermediate occupations.


Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Unemployment

Trends in Unemployment

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Trends in Unemployment

Current Job Outlook:

The job outlook for Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) is considered Average because:

1. Employment grew at an average rate.

2. Hourly wages ($18.94) are close to the average ($18.07), and the rate of wage growth is close to the average.

3. The unemployment rate (12%) is above the 2004 average (7%).

Future Job Prospects:

Your job outlook will continue to be Average because:

1. The employment growth rate will likely be average; however, the funding of major construction projects such as public infrastructure should create job openings.

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 (47%) is close to the average (32%) for all occupations.

Useful Experience:

1. Machinery

2. Working outdoors

3. Estimating

Part Time Workers

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Part Time Workers

Part time workers:

3% of Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) are employed only on a part-time basis. There were 71,000 workers employed in these occupations in 2004, an increase of 8% since 1997.

Age Demographics

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Age Demographics

Age Demographics:

The retirement rate to 2009 will likely be below average because of a tendency to retire at an older-than-average age (65).

Self Employed

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Self Employed

Self Employed:

Roughly 12% of Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) are self-employed. This is considered Average for the industry as a whole.

Men vs Women

Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) Men vs Women

Men vs Women:

2% of the individuals employed as Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane) are women. Compared to other industries, this is Below average.