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Meat Cutter

Meat cutters prepare cuts of meat, poultry and fish. They also prepare products such as sausage. They work in processing plants or retail stores.

  • Avg. Salary $37,710.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.00
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 5,700
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Butcher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers - Retail and Wholesale (6251);  Industrial Butchers (9462.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Butchers and Meat Cutters Retail and Wholesale (G941);  Industrial Butchers and Meat Cutters, Poultry Preparers and Related Workers (J172) 
  • 2011 NOC: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale (6331);  Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers (9462) 
  • 2016 NOC: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale (6331);  Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers (9462) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

76%
76%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Meat Cutter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers - Retail and Wholesale
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to process customers' orders; and to maintain inventories and keep records of meat sales

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to grind meats and slice cooked meats using powered grinders and slicing machines

directive

Interest in determining the amounts and types of meat cuts to be prepared; may supervise other butchers and meat cutters

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Industrial Butchers
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating equipment to split carcasses into smaller portions to facilitate handling

METHODICAL

Interest in comparing information to remove viscera and other inedible parts from carcasses, and to skin, clean and trim carcasses

directive

Interest in preparing meat for further processing, packaging and marketing

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Meat cutters in retail stores prepare meat cuts and products to appear attractive and appeal to shoppers. Duties vary, but in general, retail meat cutters:

  • receive and store meat products
  • keep storage, preparation and sales areas clean (in keeping with an approved sanitation program)
  • ensure meat quality
  • package, price and display meat
  • prepare and market meat items (ready-to-cook, partially and fully prepared)
  • stock and rotate shelves (to meet sanitary requirements)
  • keep sanitation records.

Retail meat cutters also may:

  • serve customers
  • deal with supply sales reps
  • cut product for special orders
  • keep records of meat sales
  • maintain stock
  • give advice on meat cuts and cooking methods.

Meat cutters in meat processing plants use knives and specialized equipment to slaughter, break, cut, bone and trim meat. They produce a variety of cuts for markets (domestic and international). They must practice good personal hygiene and work within a strict food safety system. They may work in one department on a specific task or on a variety of tasks. For example, they may work:

  • on the slaughter floor (stunning, skinning, gutting or splitting carcasses)
  • in the cutting room (breaking carcasses into larger cuts for other departments or for processing)
  • in processing departments or plants (making products like sausage or boned hams)
  • in case-ready operations (preparing single portions in sizes specified by stores, hotels or restaurants).
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Meat cutters work indoors in rooms with controlled temperatures (from minus 2 to 4 degrees Celsius). They are on their feet most of the day and often move heavy items. Their workplaces usually have safety measures (work procedures and safety equipment) to reduce the risk of injury (from repetitive motions and working with knives and saws).

Most meat cutters work shifts.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Meat cutters need to possess:

  • good health (a physical exam may be required for work)
  • physical strength and stamina (to stand for long periods and to lift and move heavy pieces of meat)
  • good hand-eye co-ordination, depth perception and colour vision
  • the ability to follow instructions
  • the ability to work on their own and in a team setting
  • the ability to communicate well with others (co-workers, supervisors and in some cases, the general public).

Meat cutters should enjoy:

  • having clear rules and organized methods
  • using tools and equipment for precision tasks
  • taking ownership of projects.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

There are no formal education requirements for meat cutters. Many have learned on the job. However, most employers prefer to hire high school graduates or those with related post-secondary education. On-the-job training takes 1 to 2 years depending on previous experience and education.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Olds College

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Meat cutters may work in:

  • meat processing plants
  • supermarkets
  • specialty sausage stores
  • deli shops
  • independent meat markets
  • other retail establishments.

In processing plants, meat cutters usually start on an assembly line. Retail trainees often start with routine work, such as removing bones. They gradually learn more complex skills, such as rolling and tying roasts.

Experienced meat cutters may advance to supervisory roles. Examples are meat department manager in a supermarket or team co-ordinator in a processing plant. Some meat cutters open their own meat markets or move into jobs in sales, inspection or quality control.

In Alberta, meat cutters are part of two larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications, 6331: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale and National Occupational Classification 9462: Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers.

84% of people employed in the Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale group work in the Retail Trade [pdf] industry.

93% of the people who work in the Butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers group work in Manufacturing [pdf].

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the G941: Butchers and Meat Cutters Retail and Wholesale occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 96 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

In Alberta, the J172: Industrial Butchers and Meat Cutters, Poultry Preparers and Related Workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 57 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Depending on the nature of their work, Meat cutters can be part of two larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications, 6331: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale or 9462: Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers.

Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.90 $19.90 $19.89 $19.90
Overall $21.80 $21.80 $21.82 $21.80
Top $22.95 $22.95 $23.16 $22.95

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

76%
76%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

50%
50%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

17%
17%

Vacancy Rate

6%
Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $21.00 $16.05 $15.36
Overall $16.50 $26.16 $21.00 $20.00
Top $18.00 $28.90 $23.53 $24.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

61%
61%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

52%
52%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Canadian Professional Meat Cutters Association website: meatforce.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 22, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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