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What Is a General Laborer? - Job Description, Duties & Skills

General laborers perform jobs that tend to be physically demanding and typically require no education and little to no experience. Read further to learn more about these types of positions.

Career Overview

General laborers perform tasks that require very little by way of prior training. Additionally, general laborers are not expected to have any educational qualifications. The chart below shows the education requirements, job duties, and salary of general laborers.

Training Required On-the-job training often provided
Key Skills Ability to follow directions, physical strength, endurance, basic math skills, attention to detail
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11% (construction laborers and helpers), 4% (hand laborers and material movers)*
Median Salary (2019) $36,418 per year or $14.28 per hour (laborer)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); **Payscale.com

What Are The Job Duties Of A General Laborer?

General laborers perform a wide variety of duties depending on the company of employ. If one works for a manufacturing company, one's duties could include unloading materials, assembly of manufactured goods, and loading those goods onto trucks for shipment. One who works for a construction company may be assigned tasks such as cleaning up construction sites or ditch digging.

What Are The Educational Requirements Of A General Laborer?

There are usually no educational requirements for one to become a general laborer. Companies who hire general laborers are more interested in one's skills and abilities than formal educational qualifications. The skills and abilities they tend to be interested in are the ability to lift between fifty and one hundred pounds (approximately twenty-three to forty-five kilograms), the ability to stand for eight hours a day, and the ability to count and do basic math.

Where Do General Laborers Work?

General laborers work in a wide variety of environments. Those who work in manufacturing will spend their days mostly indoors. However, those who have positions loading and unloading trucks might spend their days moving from the indoors to the outdoors and dealing with the swing in temperature as they move from one environment to the other. Those who work in construction will primarily spend their working day in the outdoors.

What Personal Traits Do General Laborers Need To Have?

The work general laborers do can often be repetitive, so general laborers must be very patient. Also, for some jobs, general laborers must be detail focused. This is particularly true for general laborers who work in manufacturing. A mistake during the manufacturing process could lead to problems for the end user. Additionally, many jobs for general laborers require that they meet certain physical requirements, such as being able to lift a certain amount of weight or to remain standing for a set period of time.

What Are The Variations In General Laborer Pay And Outlook?

The pay and career outlook for a general laborer can vary based on the industry and company of employ. For example, construction laborers and helpers had a median hourly income of $16.74 in 2018, while hand laborers and material movers earned $13.11 per hour, says the BLS. From 2018 to 2028 the market for construction laborers is expected to grow by 11%, faster than the national average for job growth. However, for hand laborers the market is expected to grow by only 4% which is the national average, according to the BLS.