Career Development

What Does a General Laborer Do?

Find out what a general laborer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a general laborer.

General laborers are the backbone of many industries. They perform a wide range of tasks, from moving heavy equipment to digging ditches to assembling products. Their work is physically demanding and often requires a great deal of endurance.

General laborers may be employed by private companies or public agencies. In either case, they typically do not have a lot of control over their daily workloads. Instead, they follow instructions from supervisors or managers who determine what needs to be done each day.

General Laborer Job Duties

A general laborer typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Communicating with other workers to coordinate tasks such as moving materials from one location to another
  • Performing routine cleaning tasks such as sweeping floors and scrubbing walls
  • Operating industrial machinery such as forklifts, cranes, or bulldozers
  • Performing manual labor tasks such as lifting heavy materials or cleaning up spills
  • Operating various types of equipment used in construction projects such as drills, circular saws, power saws, concrete mixers, forklifts, and cranes
  • Cleaning work areas by sweeping floors, mopping floors, or cleaning walls with an industrial vacuum cleaner
  • Operating a crane or forklift to move large objects such as boxes or crates across a warehouse or storage facility
  • Operating machines such as stamping machines to create patterns in metal parts
  • Cleaning machinery such as tanks or boiler systems to remove buildup of mud, sludge, or other deposits

General Laborer Salary & Outlook

General laborers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $38,000 ($18.27/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of general laborers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need to replace workers who leave their jobs or retire. In addition, demand for general laborers is projected to increase as more work is done outside traditional manufacturing plants and warehouses and in other industries, such as healthcare and retail trade.

General Laborer Job Requirements

A general laborer may be required to have the following:

Education: General laborers typically need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer a candidate who has completed some college courses. Taking classes in English, mathematics and computer skills can help you prepare for a general labor job.

Training & Experience: General laborers typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced workers. This training helps the general laborer learn the specific processes and procedures for their role.

Certifications & Licenses: Laborers who work with hazardous materials may need to get certified to work with certain materials. Some states require workers to get certified before they can work with certain materials. Laborers can also earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

General Laborer Skills

General laborers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: General laborers often work in teams, so it’s important for them to be able to communicate effectively with their coworkers. This includes being able to listen to and understand instructions from their supervisors and being able to give feedback to their coworkers about their work. General laborers also often work with customers, so they need to be able to communicate with them clearly and answer their questions.

Attention to detail: General laborers need to be able to perform their duties with precision. This means that they need to be able to read and follow instructions carefully, complete tasks with accuracy and check their work for mistakes. Attention to detail is also important when it comes to safety, as general laborers need to be able to recognize potential hazards and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.

Problem-solving skills: General laborers often work on a team, so it’s important for them to be able to solve problems together. They may need to find solutions to challenges that arise during the production process, such as when a machine breaks down or when a new shipment of materials arrives in a different order than expected. General laborers also need to be able to solve problems that arise in the workplace, such as when a tool is missing or when a coworker is injured.

Physical stamina: General laborers often work outdoors or in physically demanding environments. They may be required to lift heavy objects, stand for long periods of time and work in extreme weather conditions. Physical stamina is an important skill for general laborers to have as it allows them to work efficiently and safely.

Ability to lift heavy objects: General laborers often lift and move heavy objects, such as machinery, tools and other materials. The ability to lift and move heavy objects is an important skill for general laborers to have. It’s important to be able to lift and move objects safely and efficiently.

General Laborer Work Environment

General laborers typically work outdoors on construction sites, often performing manual labor tasks such as digging trenches, mixing concrete, or loading and unloading materials. They may also work indoors on remodeling projects or in factories, warehouses, or other industrial and commercial settings. Laborers typically work full time, and overtime hours are often available. The work can be physically demanding and sometimes dangerous, and workers must be able to follow safety rules and regulations.

General Laborer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how general laborers work. General laborers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As businesses become more technical, the need for general laborers with technical skills increases. This is because businesses are looking for employees who can help them implement new technologies and solve problems.

General laborers can capitalize on this trend by learning how to use a variety of tools and software. This will make them more valuable to employers and allow them to take on more complex projects.

The Importance of Teamwork

Teamwork is becoming increasingly important in the workplace as companies strive to be more efficient and productive. This means that general laborers will need to be able to work well with others in order to get the job done.

By developing strong team-building skills, general laborers can be more successful in their jobs and find opportunities for growth within their company. Additionally, teamwork is an essential skill for anyone who wants to be successful in business.

More Attention to Safety

As businesses become more concerned about safety, they are placing a greater emphasis on hiring general laborers who have experience working in a safe manner.

This trend is likely to continue as businesses become even more focused on safety, which means that general laborers who are able to demonstrate a commitment to safety will be in high demand.

How to Become a General Laborer

General laborers have a wide variety of career paths they can take. They can move up the ladder and become supervisors or managers, or they can specialize in a particular area and become experts in that field. General laborers can also choose to work for a company that specializes in their trade, such as construction or mining.

General laborers should always be looking for ways to improve their skills and learn new things. This will help them advance their careers and increase their earning potential. They should also stay up-to-date on current industry trends so they know what jobs are available and where the best opportunities are.

Related: How to Write a General Laborer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many general laborers find that their career prospects are limited. Some, however, are able to move into other construction-related occupations with little or no formal education. For example, some general laborers become carpenters, electricians, or masons after completing an apprenticeship or a vocational training program. Others move into supervisory or managerial positions. Some general laborers leave construction to find work in other sectors of the economy.

General Laborer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for a general laborer to join our team. The ideal candidate will have experience with manual labor and be able to lift heavy objects. He or she will also be responsible for cleaning the work area and performing other general maintenance tasks as needed. The ability to work well with others is a must, as is the ability to follow instructions and take direction.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Unload and load trucks with hand trucks, dollies, and other equipment
  • Sort materials according to type, size, or other specifications
  • Store materials in appropriate areas
  • Assemble products and prepare them for shipment
  • Clean work areas, machines, and equipment
  • Perform general maintenance tasks as needed
  • Follow all safety rules and regulations
  • Report any accidents or injuries to the supervisor immediately
  • Keep track of inventory and report shortages to the supervisor
  • Assist other workers when necessary
  • Work overtime when required
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Ability to lift 50+ pounds
  • Reliable transportation
  • Strong work ethic
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to follow instructions

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Previous experience in construction, landscaping, or other physical labor role
  • Flexibility to work long hours, weekends, and holidays as needed
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Experience operating heavy machinery

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