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Factory operative job description

Updated March 29, 2017

Factory operatives are responsible for running machines in manufacturing plants. They typically load machines and adjust speed settings. O*Net Online notes that knowledge of tools, math and engineering technology are desirable attributes of those seeking the position.

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Most factory operatives learn the role on the job. However, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that employers prefer to hire those with a high school diploma. Courses in math or computers also may prove useful.


Good physical stamina is required. Attention to detail, good communication skills and a knowledge of health and safety are all important qualifications for the position.


Typical daily tasks include operating machinery, inspecting finished goods for quality, checking machinery for safety and adhering to company policies.


According to, the average annual salary for a factory operative in July, 2010, was £18,850.


The BLS predicts employment in the industry to decline by 13 per cent over the next decade. This is due to advances in technology, outsourcing to other countries and automation.

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About the Author

Based in Manchester, U.K., Natalie Baker has been a freelance beauty and fashion writer since 2009. Her work appears in the beauty pages of "The Detour Magazine" and online at Just Makeup Artists. Baker is experienced in both television and print journalism, and holds a Bachelor of Arts broadcast journalism from Salford University.

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