Career Development

What Does a Laborer Do?

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

Laborers are the people who do the hard work that keeps society running smoothly. They perform a wide range of tasks, from digging trenches to building roads to installing equipment and fixtures. Laborers typically work with heavy equipment and materials, so they must be physically strong and able to follow instructions carefully.

Laborer Job Duties

Laborers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing physical labor such as lifting heavy objects or using heavy machinery to move materials around a work site
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of work areas by following safety regulations regarding spills and other hazards
  • Building or repairing structures such as houses, bridges, roads, dams, or sewers
  • Operating equipment such as forklifts, cranes, backhoes, bulldozers, jackhammers, and paving equipment
  • Installing windows, doors, carpeting, tile, hardwood floors, plumbing fixtures, roofing materials, siding, insulation, drywall, and other building materials
  • Installing electrical wiring and fixtures such as light fixtures, switches, receptacles, and power outlets
  • Installing plumbing fixtures such as sinks, toilets, tubs, shower stalls, and faucets
  • Installing HVAC equipment such as furnaces, air conditioners, humidifiers, and ventilation ducts
  • Operating forklifts to move materials in warehouses or construction sites

Laborer Salary & Outlook

Laborers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location. Some laborers are members of labor unions that negotiate wages on their behalf.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,500 ($18.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of 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 some types of laborers, such as heavy and highway construction workers, is expected to increase because of increased investment in roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Laborer Job Requirements

Laborers may need to meet the following qualifications:

Education: Most laborers need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, some employers may require a minimum of an associate’s degree in construction or building trades.

Training & Experience: Most laborers learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training typically includes a period of shadowing a current laborer and performing duties under supervision until the trainee is comfortable enough to work independently. Training often includes a period of performing basic duties under supervision followed by a period of performing more advanced duties under supervision.

Certifications & Licenses: Laborers who work with hazardous materials may need licensure and certification. Laborers can also earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Laborer Skills

Laborers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Laborers communicate with their coworkers and supervisors to understand their duties and receive feedback on their work. They also communicate with their coworkers to share information about their work and ask for help when needed. Laborers use verbal and nonverbal communication to instruct others and answer questions.

Attention to detail: Laborers need to be able to pay attention to detail when performing their duties. This is because they often work with machinery and equipment that can be dangerous if not handled properly. Attention to detail can also help them complete their work efficiently and effectively.

Physical stamina: Laborers often work long shifts and may be on their feet for most of the time. Physical stamina can help you work through long shifts and complete tasks with minimal breaks.

Problem-solving: Laborers use problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues and find solutions to problems. For example, if a piece of equipment isn’t working properly, a laborer might use their problem-solving skills to find the source of the problem and fix it. Laborers also use problem-solving skills to find ways to complete tasks efficiently.

Teamwork: Laborers often work in teams with other laborers, supervisors and other construction workers. Being able to work well with others can help you to complete your tasks efficiently and to develop positive relationships with your coworkers.

Laborer Work Environment

Laborers typically work outdoors on construction sites, where they are exposed to a variety of weather conditions. They may also work in factories, warehouses, or other indoor settings. Laborers typically work full time, and overtime is often required to meet deadlines. The work can be physically demanding, and laborers are often required to lift heavy objects, stand for long periods of time, and perform other strenuous tasks. The work can also be dangerous, and laborers are at risk of being injured by falling objects, electrical shocks, and other hazards.

Laborer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how laborers work. 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 Skilled Laborers

The construction industry is in need of more skilled laborers, as the demand for new buildings and infrastructure continues to grow.

Laborers can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in specific trades, such as plumbing or electrical work. This will allow them to be more valuable to employers and help them meet the demands of the construction industry.

More Focus on Sustainability

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, businesses are beginning to focus more on green practices. This means that laborer jobs will increasingly require skills related to sustainability, such as recycling, composting, and energy efficiency.

By learning these skills, laborers can become more valuable employees and help businesses reduce their environmental impact. In addition, they may also be able to find jobs with companies that specialize in sustainability services, such as waste management and renewable energy.

A Growing Demand for Construction Workers

The construction industry is growing rapidly, which is leading to a growing demand for construction workers. This is due to the fact that there is an increasing demand for new buildings and infrastructure projects.

As the construction industry grows, so too will the need for qualified construction workers. Laborers who are able to adapt to this changing landscape will be in high demand and will be able to find employment in a variety of different fields.

How to Become a Laborer

There are many different paths you can take to become a laborer. You could start by getting a high school diploma or GED, and then go on to complete an apprenticeship program. During your apprenticeship, you would learn the skills needed to be a laborer, such as how to use tools correctly, how to read blueprints, and how to work safely.

You could also choose to attend college and get a degree in construction engineering or civil engineering. This would give you more advanced knowledge of building structures and how they’re constructed.

Related: How to Write a Laborer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Laborers can find advancement opportunities by becoming skilled in a particular trade. For example, a worker who starts out as a general laborer on a construction site may eventually become a carpenter, electrician, or plumber. Skilled laborers often are able to find work even when jobs are scarce, because their skills are in high demand.

Some laborers advance by becoming foremen or supervisors. Others may open their own businesses. Some may become involved in labor-management relations or safety engineering.

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