What Is a General Operative?

A general operative is the United Kingdom equivalent of a general laborer in the United States. They perform manual labor, most often related to construction, such as road work, digging ditches, pouring concrete and similar. The overwhelming majority, more than 80 percent, of those currently working as general operatives are male.

According to the National Career Service website, a general operative is an entry-level role. Those who perform well in the position may eventually work their way into supervisory roles as occupational supervisors, plant operators, highway operative or civil engineering technicians and, ultimately, may work their way into construction or project manager roles. The starting salary for a general operative is about 15,000 pounds per year, or just under 25,000 U.S. dollars.

There are no specific educational requirements for general operatives, however, any person who operates construction machinery must be at least 18 years of age and have a special license. Additionally, workers who are most successful in the field generally have good stamina and a high level of physical fitness. A natural talent for building and comfort with working at high heights are also recommended. Those interested in pursuing a career as a general operative can obtain employment through experience, apprenticeship, education, special training or any combination of these qualifications.