Road worker

highways operative

Career outlook for road worker

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

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


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

Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help build and repair roads and motorways to make sure travel is easy and safe for the public.

You would:

  • Build, widen and resurface roads
  • Fix potholes and cracks
  • Lay pavements and kerbs
  • Maintain roadside verges and central reservations
  • Paint road markings
  • Put up crash barriers, road signs, traffic lights and street lamps
  • Dig trenches for cable and pipe laying
  • Grit roads and clear snow in winter
  • Use hand tools such as picks and shovels
  • Use power tools and machinery such as pneumatic drills and road rollers
  • Manage traffic and pedestrians close to work sites

You would have to understand health and safety rules, and follow them carefully.

Working conditions


You would normally work around 37 hours a week, often starting early. You may have to work overtime, including evenings, nights and weekends, in order to minimise disruption to traffic.


You would work in all weather conditions and the work is noisy, dirty and physically tough. Your employer would provide you with ear protectors, a hard hat and safety boots.


You could be travelling from site to site, which may involve overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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

  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Taking initiative
  • Managing resources
  • Concentrating
  • Problem solving

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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 but most employers value a good general education including English and maths.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Practical technologies subjects

You will also need

You need to be at least 18 years of age.

You may have to pass an aptitude test before entry.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent, pass a health and safety test to train or work on construction sites.

A driving licence is sometimes required.


Helpful to have

  • A Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence
  • Qualifications and experience that show practical skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5)