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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, custom processing operations, large retail stores, or small retail outlets.

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers - Retail and Wholesale
2006 NOC : 6251

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Industrial Butchers
2006 NOC : 9462.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Meat cutters in retail stores prepare meat cuts and products to look 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 prepared, 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 different departments on a variety of tasks. For example, they may work:

  • On the slaughter floor, where they stun animals, then skin, gut, or split carcasses
  • In the cutting room, where they break carcasses into larger cuts for other departments or for processing
  • In processing departments or plants, where they make products like sausage or boned hams
  • In case-ready operations, where they prepare single portions in sizes specified by stores, hotels, or restaurants
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Meat cutters work indoors in rooms with controlled temperatures (from -2 C to 4 C). 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.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Meat cutters need:

  • Good physical health; they may need a physical exam for work
  • Physical strength and stamina to stand for long periods and to lift and move heavy pieces of meat
  • Good hand-eye coordination, 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 (coworkers, supervisors and in some cases, the public)

Meat cutters should enjoy:

  • Having clear rules and organized methods
  • Using tools and equipment for precision tasks
  • Taking ownership of projects

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale
NOC code: 6331

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 06, 2021 and May 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Cut, trim and prepare standard cuts of meat
Grind meats
Remove bones from meat
Cut poultry into parts
Cut carcasses, sides and quarters
Prepare special displays of meats, poultry and fish products
Wrap and package prepared meats
Clean meats to prepare for processing or cutting
Prepare special orders
Shape, lace and tie roasts, other meats, poultry and seafood
Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
NOC code: 9462

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 40 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 06, 2021 and May 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Remove bones from meat
Cut beef, lamb, pork or veal carcasses or sides or quarters of carcasses into primal cuts for further cutting, processing or packaging
Slaughter livestock and remove viscera and other inedible parts from carcasses
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Knives
Personal Suitability: Team player
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Saws
Cut meat and poultry into specific cuts for institutional, commercial or other wholesale use
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Stunning devices
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Power cutting tools
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no formal education requirements for meat cutters. Many learn on the job. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates or those with post-secondary meat industry education programs. 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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2022

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. For example, they may become the meat department manager in a supermarket or team coordinator in a processing plant. Some meat cutters open their own meat shops or move into sales, inspection, or quality control.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6331: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale occupational group, 80.4% of people work in:

In the 9462: Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers occupational group, 93.3% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6331: Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers - retail and wholesale occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

In Alberta, the 9462: Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2022

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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

2016 NOC : 9462
Average Wage
$21.82
Per Hour
Average Salary
$45,371.00
Per Year
Average Hours
40
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 9462 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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

2016 NOC : 6331
Average Wage
$21.00
Per Hour
Average Salary
$37,710.00
Per Year
Average Hours
34.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6331 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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 Mar 31, 2022

Canadian Professional Meat Cutters Association website: meatforce.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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