Home Industry Information Manufacturing & Production Textiles, Clothing and Footwear

Textiles, Clothing and Footwear


Australia's Textile, Clothing and Footwear industry comprises a broad range of light manufacturing.  

The industry comprises three main sectors:

  • Sectors which process natural and synthetic materials such as early stage wool processing, cotton ginning, hide, skin and leather
  • Production sectors including clothing production, textile production, footwear production, leather goods production and technical textiles
  • Service sectors providing dry cleaning operations, laundry operations and footwear repair.

What does this industry cover?

  • Production of synthetic fibres
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Clothing and footwear manufacturing
  • Laundry and dry cleaning
  • Footwear repair
  • Cotton ginning

Industry Information

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear industry has been under intense pressure for many years. It has survived tariff reductions, skill shortages and relentless global competition but despite this it still employs 29,500 people.

Clothing manufacturing has the largest number of businesses in the industry however the number of businesses has decreased by 29% (1,352 businesses) since 2009. New South Wales had the most number of textiles, clothing and footware manufacturing businesses (2,315), down from 2,949 in 2009.

In 2015, micro and small businesses (that is with less than 20 employees) dominate the industry with  over 95% of businesses this category. Only nine businesses employed 200+ people and they were located in New South Wales and Victoria.

Traineeship and apprenticeship commencements in this industry are modest.

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: 60

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

Commencements Change

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

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

Apprentice Employment Outcomes

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

Source: NCVER National Student Outcomes Survey, 2017, unpublished.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

Industry Employment Size

This is a medium 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 medium to high.

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

Key Occupations

Textile Worker

Footwear Maker

Laundry Operator

This industry is positioned within the following groups


Manufacturing & Production

Work Type

Practical & Manual

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Career Pathways

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear 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

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


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. 


  • Australian Fashion Council
  • TCF Australia


  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Careers Sites