The job duties of general labourers can vary as much as the industries in which they are needed. In the construction trade, it could mean cleaning and preparing a job site, unloading materials, setting up scaffolding, driving a forklift, or using any number of tools or pieces of equipment. They work in all kinds of weather and sometimes are required to handle dangerous chemicals, asbestos, or lead. On road construction, labourers could be setting up cones and barricades or directing traffic around the work area.

General labourers are also needed for indoor assignments, often working as helpers in a manufacturing environment. While on the job, they might be checking incoming parts or merchandise to make sure they match work orders. They may then be assigned to place the parts into inventory to ensure their proper storage. They could also be required to perform inspections as part of mechanical or electrical maintenance on tools and equipment. General labourers are often assigned to the sanitation and housekeeping duties of the company.

What skills are required from general labourers?

While there are occasionally no minimum educational requirements to be a general labourer, those with certain skills have the most opportunities. An informal apprenticeship, consisting of on-the-job training and learning from more experienced co-workers, is the usual method for general labourers to learn their job.

Here are some of the typical qualifications for most general labour openings:

  • A high school diploma is usually required;
  • experience in a manufacturing, construction, or warehouse environment is preferred;
  • the ability to speak, write and read English is usually a must. Depending on the job, being bi-lingual is a plus;
  • most jobs require that you be available for at least 35 hours per week;
  • you need to have good manual dexterity; and
  • you should be able to lift 16 kg (about 35 lbs) and have good hand-eye coordination.

Which soft skills are employers looking for in general labourers?

Just because you think of a general labour job as “non-skilled” doesn’t mean employers won’t have expectations of you. There are traits, referred to as soft skills, that you should be displaying. They could serve you well if you’re looking to move up in the company or just get better assignments. Here are some of them:

  • Cooperative
  • Reliable
  • Motivated
  • Respectful
  • Enthusiastic
  • Punctual
  • Friendly
  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Energetic

This list is not complete, but you get the idea. One thing these soft skills have in common is that every one of them is under your control. If you don’t have all of these traits right now, it won’t take you long to develop them. And the time it takes to acquire them will be time well spent!

Are you searching for a general labour job?

Let us help you. Get in touch with HCR Personnel Solutions, a leading manufacturing recruitment agency in Southwestern Ontario that recruits top professionals for exceptional career opportunities.


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