Material Handlers

(NOC 7452)

in All Trades and Transportation

Materials handlers handle, move, load and unload materials by hand or using a variety of material handling equipment. They work for transportation, storage and moving companies, and a variety of manufacturing and processing companies and retail and wholesale warehouses.

Job Outlook

Average

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  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 225 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Many material handlers were laid off because of the pandemic. Many material handlers work in retail and wholesale trade and the combination of nonessential store closures and supply chain disruptions reduced demand for this occupation. The rebound in employment for material handlers will be tied to the health of the retail industry and supply chains in general.

Employment prospects are average in this occupation. Total employment is expected to remain stable or decline slightly as automation reduces the need for some workers. However, a high rate of turnover will continue to provide regular vacancies. There has been a high degree of competition among job applicants for certain vacancies in the Halifax area. This may reflect an elevated number of unemployed jobseekers remaining from the layoffs that happened earlier in the year. Prospects are somewhat better in some rural areas where there may be a shortage of labour willing to contend with the physically demanding nature of the position. Jobseekers may improve their prospects by having access to personal transportation and being willing to travel to employers in such areas.

The median employment income for the 48% of Material Handlers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $38,904. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600.

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$16.50

Median

$26.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,103

Minimum

$27,417

Median

$53,776

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Materials handlers handle, move, load and unload materials by hand or using a variety of material handling equipment. They work for transportation, storage and moving companies, and a variety of manufacturing and processing companies and retail and wholesale warehouses.

Job duties

Material handlers (manual):

  • Load, unload, and move products and materials by hand or using basic material handling equipment.
  • Move household appliances and furniture onto and off moving trucks or vans.
  • Carry out other material handling activities like counting, weighing, sorting, packing and unpacking.

Material handlers (equipment operators):

  • Use winches and other loading devices to load and unload materials onto and off trucks, railway cars and loading docks of warehouses and industrial shops.
  • Use industrial trucks, tractors, loaders, and other equipment to move materials to and from transportation vehicles and loading docks and to store and retrieve materials in warehouses.
  • Connect hoses or pipes and use equipment to load and unload liquid petroleum, chemical or other products into or from tank cars, tank trucks or storage tanks.
  • Use equipment to dump materials like coal, ore, and grain into or to remove materials from railway cars, trucks, or other vehicles.
  • Use conveyors and equipment to transfer grain or other materials from transportation vehicles to elevators, bins, or other storage areas.
  • May perform other activities like opening containers and crates, filling warehouse orders, assisting in taking inventory and weighing and checking materials.

Sample job titles

  • forklift operator
  • freight handler (except air transport)
  • furniture mover
  • lumber handler - building supplies
  • material handler - manufacturing and warehousing
  • railway car loader
  • truck loader
  • warehouse worker - material handling
  • warehouseperson

Skills

You should have good health, physical stamina, and strength for material handlers who work with heavy materials. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical aptitude would be helpful. You must be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • Some high school education may be required.

Other considerations

Materials handlers often work shifts and are on their feet most of the time.

By the numbers

Quick look

4,300

employed in 2016

75.8%

employed full-time

1.6%

self employed

9.9%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
90.1%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.9

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

43.1%

Halifax

22.4%

North Shore

15.9%

Annapolis Valley

10.1%

Southern

8.4%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

23.7%

Manufacturing

21.3%

Retail trade

21.0%

Transportation and warehousing

17.5%

Wholesale trade

3.7%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

What is the age of Employment?

24.0%

15-24

20.0%

25-34

19.0%

45-54

18.0%

55-64

15.0%

35-44

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

47.3%

High school

$27,879 median annual income
27.2%

Less than high school

$22,387 median annual income
13.0%

College Diploma

$29,780 median annual income
8.0%

Apprenticeship

$30,027 median annual income
3.4%

Bachelor

$23,262 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Apprenticeship

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Ground transportation - Other

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program not listed above that relates to Ground Transportation.

Institutions providing this program

Commercial Safety College

Highway #2, Masstown PO Box 848

Truro, NS B2N 5G6

(902) 662-2190

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

No contacts were found under this occupation profile

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.