An Overview of Manual Labor Jobs and Companies That Offer Them

Last updated: April 12, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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An Overview of Manual Labor Jobs and Companies That Offer Them
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Are you considering an active job that will get you up and moving? A manual labor job will do just that, as they require the worker to perform physical tasks.

These types of jobs are available to all skill levels. Some positions require little to no training, like general labor and housekeeping. Others are more technical and require years of training as an apprentice, such as an automotive technician or welder.

Regardless of the position, manual labor jobs have a lot of benefits over other types of positions.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of manual labor jobs and dive into the most popular career paths and companies that are hiring.

What are manual labor jobs?

Defined as a career where workers spend at least 25% of their time doing physical labor (usually more than that), manual labor jobs can be rewarding career choices.

Manual work is often referred to as unskilled labor. However, that’s not necessarily true. As with any industry, entry-level positions require little to no education or training. But more technical jobs also require formal training, certifications, licenses, and even lengthy apprenticeships.

For example, an order picker working at Amazon and an electrician are both working manual labor jobs. But the skill levels are very different.

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There are opportunities to work in manual labor for someone of any skill level. With hundreds of positions available, ranging from custodians to automotive technicians, there’s something that could appeal to almost everyone.

For the right person, a manual labor job is a rewarding career, and for a good reason. Many benefits come with working in physical labor. Let’s take a look.

Are manual workers unskilled?

One of the biggest misconceptions about manual work is that it is unskilled labor. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Many manual jobs require a great deal of skill and training. For example, a welder must have a steady hand and know how to use the tools of the trade.

A carpenter must be able to measure and cut wood precisely. A mechanic must be able to diagnose and fix problems with cars. So next time you think of manual work as unskilled labor, remember that it takes a lot of skill and training to do many of these jobs.

What skills do you need for manual labor jobs?

The skills you require will depend on the specific manual labor job you are interested in. However, some skills are common in many manual labor jobs. These include:

  • Physical fitness: Many manual labor jobs are physically demanding, so you must be in good shape. This means having the stamina to perform the tasks required and the strength to lift heavy objects.

  • Dexterity: Many manual labor jobs require a high level of dexterity, so you should have the coordination and fine motor skills to perform tasks such as using tools, operating machinery, and working with delicate materials.

  • Agility: You must be able to move quickly and easily, often in tight or confined spaces. Agility is vital for tasks like climbing ladders, crawling through tunnels, and working in small areas.

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  • Balance: One of the essential skills for a manual labor job is balance. You need to carry heavy objects without tipping over, stand on your feet for long periods, and reach for things without losing your balance.

  • Ability to follow instructions: You should also be able to follow instructions in a manual labor job. Otherwise, you could get hurt or cause an accident. Employers often conduct tests that assess your ability to read and follow instructions.

  • Attention to detail: You must also be attentive to detail. This is important in many jobs, especially those that involve safety.

  • Understanding of safety regulations: Safety regulations are a crucial aspect of manual labor jobs. Therefore, you should be able to pay attention to your surroundings and follow safety procedures.

What are the benefits of manual labor jobs?

Working a manual labor job provides some unique benefits that an office job won’t give you.

1. Improved coordination

Your hand-eye coordination will improve over time when working a manual labor job because you’ll be using your hands. You can expect to feel a significant difference in your ability to complete manual tasks after some time.

2. Skills for life

When training for a technical manual labor job, like an electrician or custodian, you’ll acquire manual skills that you’ll have for life. Not only can manual labor keep you fit, but the skills you build will improve your day-to-day.

All the skills you learn are transferable and will significantly benefit you outside of work.

3. Physical activity reduces obesity and diabetes rates

Many of us head home after a long work day and go straight to the couch. If you’re doing a lot of sitting at home and work, odds are you’ll gain weight, and your health will suffer.

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Manual labor jobs often require functional movement like standing, sitting, bending, and pushing. These tasks will have you burning a lot more calories than sitting in an office.

All this physical activity will benefit you in many ways. You’ll build muscle and become stronger overall. Your risk of obesity and diabetes will lower as you maintain a healthy weight. Your heart will thank you for it.

4. Aids in sleep

Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, it could be because you’re not tired at the end of the day.

People who perform manual labor sleep better than those who sit around all day. This is because they’re more tired. It’s especially true for those who work outside in the sun.

5. Builds character

Physical labor is hard work. These jobs are humbling and rewarding, as they remind us of our capabilities. In addition, learning to do physical tasks can make us more confident and self-reliant.

6. Low barrier to entry

If you need a job fast, manual labor jobs are your best bet. Many opportunities require little to no training, and you could be working in as little as a week.

Companies like Amazon, for example, frequently hire untrained workers for their warehouses.

7. High pay

Like any industry, pay varies based on your position, but some manual labor jobs pay very well.

Positions requiring more training and technical skills, like automotive technicians or construction workers, generally have high pay. As a result, many blue-collar workers make more than white-collar workers.

1. Housekeeper

Average salary: $29,154

Education requirements: None

Duties: There are over 723,430 employed housekeepers in the USA. Housekeepers perform light cleaning in hotels, private residences, and commercial establishments. Some duties include making beds, doing laundry, cleaning rooms, and vacuuming.

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Find housekeeper jobs on Jobcase.

2. Custodian

Average salary: $31,000

Education requirements: None

Duties: To become a custodian, you must be comfortable emptying and cleaning trash and recycling bins. Other responsibilities include maintaining floors (mopping, sweeping, waxing), cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, and performing minor repairs.

Find custodian jobs on Jobcase.

3. Construction worker

Average salary: $47,627

Education requirements: High school diploma for general jobs, with more specialized training available.

Duties: A construction worker will do various types of construction, including working on roads, building houses, or erecting temporary structures. Various tools and equipment will be used, and workers are expected to lift up to 100 lbs.

Find construction worker jobs on Jobcase.

4. Painter

Average salary: $49,499

Education requirements: High school diploma

Duties: A painter must be comfortable applying paint or materials like stains and lacquers using brushes, spray cans, and rollers. Workers may also remove and apply wallpaper and repair walls.

Find painter jobs on Jobcase.

5. Welder

Average salary: $49,344

Education requirements: Technical school or community college

Duties: Operating welding equipment to shape metal and join metal parts. Welders work with blueprints, and workers are expected to be comfortable reading technical drawings.

Find welder jobs on Jobcase.

6. Automotive technician

Average salary: $53,176

Education requirements: Technical school or community college

Duties: Service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and trucks. Workers are expected to be comfortable reading technical manuals and charts and running diagnostics on a computer.

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Main tasks include changing oil, checking fluid levels, rotating tires, and repairing or replacing worn parts like brake pads.

Find automotive technician jobs on Jobcase.

7. General labor

Average salary: $40,077

Education requirements: None

Duties: General laborers typically work in warehouses, loading and unloading trucks, picking up and packing orders, transporting merchandise, and other general duties.

Find general labor jobs on Jobcase.

8. Carpenter

Average salary: $50,051

Education requirements: None

Duties: Carpenters work with wood and other materials to create or repair structures. They use power tools, hand tools, and machinery to saw, drill, hammer, and fasten materials together.

Carpenters also install windows, doors, floors, and cabinets. They might work on scaffolding or ladders when they need to reach high places.

Most carpenters are generalists and work on many different types of projects. However, some specialize in a particular type of carpentry, such as framing, trim work, or cabinetry. Their salaries increase with experience and time.

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Some carpenters work in factories and mills, where they operate machines that cut and shape wood pieces. These workers are called industrial carpenters.

9. Electrician

Average salary: $60,004

Education requirements: None

Duties: Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, factories, and ships. Electricians read blueprints or instructions to determine the layout of electrical systems.

Based on the blueprint, electricians identify the types and locations of outlets, switches, and fixtures. Electricians use various tools, including screwdrivers, wire cutters, and pliers. They also use testing equipment to ensure that electrical systems are working correctly.

10. Transportation supervisor

Average salary: $58,262

Education requirements: None

Duties: Transportation supervisors coordinate the activities of workers who operate transportation equipment. They also schedule the use of vehicles and maintain records of vehicle maintenance.

Transportation supervisors typically work in the transportation or warehousing industries. For example, they might work for companies that ship goods. They are also employed to work in public transit systems.

Although the job requires a high school diploma, you can get a certification in supply chain management to improve your salary and job prospects. Some skills, such as leadership, data analysis, and customer service, also help increase your salary as a transportation supervisor.

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Typical duties of a transportation supervisor include budgeting, leading teams, and maintaining optimal safety standards. Some transportation supervisors work in the railroad industry. They supervise workers who operate locomotives and other rail cars.

What companies hire manual labor workers?

Here are four well-known companies that frequently hire manual workers:

1. Amazon

In 2020, Amazon hired an average of 1,400 new workers every day. Most of these workers do manual labor jobs in Amazon’s many warehouses.

If you’re looking for a physical labor job, consider applying at one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

These jobs generally include warehouse and stock-keeping duties. Expect to offload trucks, locate stock in a large warehouse, and pick and pack orders. Some associates also operate machinery like pallet jacks, forklifts, and cherry pickers.

2. Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn runs many hotels in the U.S. It hires housekeepers, stewards, and other similar positions requiring manual labor.

This is an excellent option for those looking to get into the hotel industry with a job that has a low barrier to entry.

3. Area Temps

Area Temps has a lot of general labor positions available around the country. In addition, the company works with various clients, so you could end up working at a company you enjoy.

4. Staffworx Skilled Trades

If you’re a skilled manual laborer doing things like electrical work or welding, Staffworx could help you find jobs all around the country.

They specialize in connecting skilled manual laborers with long-term positions.

How to get a manual labor job

Companies like Holiday Inn and Amazon hire workers for their warehouses and distribution centers. You can find these companies by searching online or visiting your local city or county employment office.

Once you find a job you’re interested in, you can submit your resume and cover letter through the company’s website. These tips will help make your resume stand out:

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If you don’t want to take on the hassle, contact a staffing agency that specializes in the placement of warehouse and distribution center workers. You can also find work through online job boards or by contacting companies directly.

  • Be sure to list any relevant experience you have, even if it’s not in a warehouse or distribution center.

  • Highlight your physical strength and stamina, as these qualities are essential to manual labor jobs.

  • Mention your flexibility and willingness to work different shifts, as many warehouses and distribution centers operate 24 hours a day.

  • If you have any relevant certifications or training, include them on your resume.

In most cases, you can expect to hear back from a potential employer within a few days to a week. If you’re contacted for an interview, dress professionally and arrive on time.

Be prepared to discuss your experience, why you’re interested in the job, and your availability.

If you’re offered the job, ask about the pay, hours, and benefits before accepting. Then, once you start working, arrive on time and put forth your best effort.

The key to getting and maintaining a manual labor job is demonstrating your reliability and usefulness to potential employers. If you’re not already employed in manual labor, consider pursuing opportunities with companies that offer on-the-job training.

Many of these businesses are looking for individuals willing to put in the hard work and learn new skills. Once you’ve proven your value to an employer, you’ll be more likely to secure a long-term position.

Find your dream manual labor job today

There are many benefits to working a manual labor job. They help keep you fit and healthy while you hone your skills. Plus, they often pay well and have a low barrier to entry.

Consider a manual labor job if you’re looking for a new career or just want to earn some extra money. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it! Start looking for jobs at Jobcase today.



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