Cemetery worker

grave digger bereavement and environmental services operative

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would prepare graves so families can say goodbye to their loved one at a funeral.

You’d look after the cemetery so it is tidy and pleasant when people visit in later months and years to remember the person.

You’d work outdoors to maintain the grounds at cemeteries and crematoriums. You’d respectfully tend the graves and memorial sites so families know that they are always cared for.

You would:

  • Measure and mark out the spaces for graves
  • Use a mechanical excavator and hand tools to dig graves
  • Prop up the sides of the grave with timber, using hydraulic equipment
  • Keep the cemetery and graves tidy
  • Check headstones for damage and remove those that are not safe
  • Cut and trim the lawns, verges and plants

You’d work with other funeral and cemetery staff including:

  • Crematorium technicians
  • Cemetery inspectors and superintendents
  • Council officials
  • General gardening staff

Working conditions


You will usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may also need to work at weekends.


You will be outdoors in all kinds of weather. It can be physically demanding, and involve lots of climbing and bending. Some aspects of the job may involve the use of heavy machinery and chemicals. Suitable protective clothing is provided when appropriate.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Managing resources
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Respecting
  • Empathising

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role; personal qualities are more important than academic.

You will also need

You usually have to be able to drive or ride on machinery, for example, a mower.

A full driving licence is usually required.

A licence with Categories B1E and C1E may be required and a JCB certificate is an advantage or be willing to gain a JCB Certificate once in work.  

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience in construction or gardening.