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Funeral Services

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Funeral Services sector, which is one component of the Personal Services industry.

The Funeral Services sector is composed of businesses and workers involved in the operation of burial sites and funeral homes, the preparation, burial, internment or cremation of deceased persons and the organisation of funerals.

Nationally recognised training for Funeral Services is delivered under the SIF – Funeral Services Training Package.

Information sourced from the most recently available Skills Forecast, the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and skills forecasts

The Personal Service’s IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Personal Services IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

Employment levels in Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services have been variable, with a low of 2,700 in 2009 and a peak of 8,900 in 2019 which has been followed by a decline to 7,900 in 2020. It is projected that employment in the sector will increase to approximately 10,800 by 2024.

The most significant VET-related occupation in Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services is Funeral Workers, which make up close to 52% of the total workforce. Employment for this occupation is predicted to rise by around 10% to 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

After peaking at approximately 170 in 2016, program enrolments in Funeral Services-related qualifications declined through the following years to less than 60 enrolments in 2019. Program completions peaked in 2017 at roughly 50 but have since declined significantly in 2019 to just over 10 completions. At the subject level most enrolments occurred in subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program, ranging between a low of 89% in 2018 and a peak of 94% in 2016.

Program enrolments occurred at either the certificate IV (88%) or certificate III (12%) level, with Certificate IV in Embalming the most popular qualification (72%), followed by the Certificate IV in Funeral Services (16%) and Certificate III in Funeral Operations (12%). All qualifications had the sole intended occupation of Funeral Worker (nes).

In 2019, the Certificate III in Funeral Operations and Certificate IV in Embalming were delivered solely by private training providers, while TAFE institutes delivered approximately 78% of the training for the Certificate IV in Funeral Services. Overall, the majority (94%) of training was funded through domestic fee for service.

Students enrolled in Funeral Services-related qualifications in 2019 mainly resided in New South Wales (28%), Western Australia (28%), Victoria (18%) or Queensland (18%). Almost three quarters of the training, however, was delivered in Victoria (74%), followed by Queensland (14%) and Western Australia (12%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the key priority skills for the Personal Services industry (inclusive of Funeral Service workers), as:

  • Teamwork and communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Self-management
  • Creativity.

According to job vacancy data, the key generic skills in demand in this sector are communication skills and being detail orientated, with Funeral Workers and Funeral Directors the top two occupations in demand and Invocare Australia identified as the top employer.

The Service Sector Workforce Insights report by the South Australian Training and Skills Commission suggests growth in the Funeral Services industry can be attributed to not only an increasing death rate due to an ageing population, but also an increase in the cultural diversity of burials requiring additional services, skills and land; longer funerals with higher expectations for technology; and increased regulatory requirements. This reported industry growth correlates with the Australian Government Job Outlook which identifies strong future growth for Funeral Workers.

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlights how technology is shaping the sector through new product offerings, including webcasts for funeral services and introducing QR codes on headstones. In addition, a report on the industry by the Retail and Personal Services Training Council (RAPS) suggest the adoption of technology in the industry brings about the need for new skill sets, including the operation of audio-visual equipment, webcasting procedures, advanced customer service skills and service coordination.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

 

Relevant research

Australian Government Job Outlook – Australian Government National Skills Commission

Industry Developments and Workforce Challenges: Funeral Services – Retail and Personal Services Training Council (RAPS)

Funeral Services Environmental Scan – Retail and Personal Services Training Council

Service Sector Workforce Insights – Training and Skills Commission (TASC)

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Funeral Directors Association

Australian Institute of Embalming

Independent Funeral Directors Association of Australia

National Funeral Directors Association of Australia

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit 952 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services industry, employment projections to May 2024
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
  • 3622 Gardeners
  • 4513 Funeral Workers
  • 4518 Other Personal Service Workers
  • 5311 General Clerks
  • 8211 Building and Plumbing Labourers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services Industry, 2000 to 2020, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit 952 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • SIF Funeral Services Training Package.
  • Certificate III in Cemetery and Crematorium Operations.
    • SIF30113 - Certificate III in Cemetery and Crematorium Operations.
  • Certificate III in Funeral Operations
    • SIF20113 - Certificate II in Funeral Operations
    • SIF30308 - Certificate III in Funeral Operations
    • SIF30313 - Certificate III in Funeral Operations.
  • Certificate III in Gravedigging, Grounds and Maintenance
    • SIF30213 - Certificate III in Gravedigging, Grounds and Maintenance.
  • Certificate IV in Embalming
    • SIF40208 - Certificate IV in Embalming
    • SIF40213 - Certificate IV in Embalming
    • WFS40202 - Certificate IV in Funeral Services (Embalming).
  • Certificate IV in Funeral Services
    • SIF40108 - Certificate IV in Funeral Services
    • SIF40113 - Certificate IV in Funeral Services.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

SIF Funeral Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 9520 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services.
  • Employer
    • 9520 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services.
Updated: 20 Nov 2020
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