A general laborer is an unskilled worker who performs a variety of tasks in construction or manufacturing environments. General laborer qualifications are low because no specific level of education or training is required, though the laborer may receive on-the-job training specific to the job he or she will perform. The majority of the laborer’s tasks will be simple and repetitive, and it is likely that the job will necessitate some level of physical fitness, particularly in construction settings.
Setting up or otherwise preparing a job site; assisting skilled laborers or performing preparatory tasks so that skilled laborers do not have to; operating various pieces of machinery; and tearing down a job site when a job is completed are some of the tasks a general laborer may be responsible for. Setting up road cones or fencing, hauling equipment to the site, holding stop signs or directing traffic, and transporting materials to and from the site are all examples of the setup or preparation phase. The general laborer will be responsible for performing any task assigned to him or her superiors once the job site has been prepared and skilled laborers and managers have moved in. Digging holes, operating various machinery, erecting scaffolding, acting as a guide for heavy machinery operators, and so on are all examples of this.
After a job is finished, the general laborer is responsible for cleaning up any leftover raw materials, transporting scaffolding, packing tools and machinery, tearing down fences or cones, and otherwise cleaning up the site so it can be used again. These are all construction jobs, but a general laborer can also work in other environments, such as a factory or an outdoor location. In a factory, an unskilled laborer might work on an assembly line as an inspection worker, a packaging worker, or an assembler who places various components into a finished product.
General laborers are usually paid at least the minimum wage. The general laborer will need to participate in training that will qualify him or her for a higher position if he or she wants to be paid more. Another way to advance in a company is through education; manufacturers and construction companies are increasingly interested in hiring employees with at least a high school diploma, if not some post-secondary education.