Forest and Wood Products


The Forest and Wood Products industry includes forest growing and management activities for timber production, the manufacturing of a diverse range of traditional and non‐traditional wood‐based products, and the distribution channels to deliver and sell these products.

Distribution is achieved through retail and trade merchants on one side and wholesalers, manufacturers, importers and exporters on the other side.

What does this industry cover?

  • Timber for the building industry
  • Structural timber - frames and trusses
  • Laminated timber
  • Engineered panels and other products
  • Wood chips
  • Pulp and paper and packaging products
  • Bio‐fuels and bio‐energy

Industry Information

The Forest and Wood Products industry supports approximately 70,000 direct jobs, mainly in regional areas.

Major areas of employment:

  • 10,000 employed in forestry & logging
  • 20,000 by sawmills & related processing plants
  • More than 40,000 in the manufacture of wood products, including wood based panels, timber frames frame & trusses.

The largest employing sectors in this industry are timber wholesale or retail outlets & fabrication manufacturers.

Traineeship and apprenticeship commencements in these sectors are moderate.

Employment and wage data for this industry

Apprenticeships Employment Size

This is a small industry for Australian Apprenticeship commencements. In the year to September 2019, commencements were: 197

Source: VOCSTATS, extracted on 14/04/2020AATIS analysis.

Commencements Change

Commencements in the year to September 2019 in this industry have decreased, compared with the previous year.

Source: VOCSTATS, extracted on 14/04/2020AATIS analysis.

Apprentice Employment Outcomes

For Australian Apprentice graduates from this industry, employment outcomes are high.

Source: NCVER National Student Outcomes Survey, 2017, unpublished. AATIS analysis.

Industry Employment Size

This is a large sized industry compared with other Australian industries.

Source: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2019. AATIS analysis.

Industry Employment Change

Over the past 5 years, change in employment in this industry has remained stable.

Source: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2019. AATIS analysis.

Industry Wage

The average wage of all employees in this industry is low to medium.

Source: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2019. AATIS analysis.

Key Occupations

Timber Grader

Log Truck Driver

Wood Machinists

Timber Sales and Merchandising Person

This industry is positioned in the following groups


Gardening, Farming, Animals & Environment

Work Type

Analytic & Scientific

Nature & Recreation

Practical & Manual

Ready to see where Forest and Wood Products can take you?

Career Pathways

The  Forest and Wood Products Industry has career pathways from Certificate II through to Diploma. Look at the Job Pathways Chart to see what is of interest.

Job Pathway Charts

MyGain - YouTube Channel

Watch videos on apprentices in various industries and their rewarding experiences doing an apprenticeship.


Watch Sean - Trainee Forestry Officer

Play video

Support Services

Further Research


Industry information is published by peak level associations, government and major employers.  Accessing industry association sites, including member lists, is a good way of building up an understanding of an industry.  Visiting employer websites and looking for careers or employment menus helps identify how employers recruit and the skills they are recruiting.

Use Google to search for the associations and organisations listed below. 


  • Skills Impact
  • Australian Forest Products Association 
  • Timber Communities Australia 
  • Timber NSW 
  • Timber Queensland Ltd QLD
  • Forest Industries Association of Tasmania
  • Victorian Association of Forest Industries  
  • Forest Industries Federation WA  

Forest Growing and Management

  • Australian Forest Growers 

Harvesting and Haulage

  • Australian Forest Contractors Association
  • Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association 

Sawmilling and Processing

  • Timber Preservers Association of Australia
  • Tasmanian Sawmillers Association

Timber Manufactured Products

  • Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia 
  • Glued Laminated Timber Association of Australia
  • Wood Panel and Board Production
  • Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia 
  • Timber Veneer Association of Australia

Timber Merchandising

  • Timber & Building Materials Association 
  • Timber Merchants Association 


  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resouces (Australian government)
  • Department of Agriculture and Food WA
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries QLD
  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Primary Industries and Regions SA
  • Department of Primary Industries NSW
  • Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment TAS