Working in the Scrap Industry

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24 March 2023

3 Men working at Always Buying Scrap in Durham NCThe scrap metal industry offers a variety of jobs to suit all experience levels.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a career change, the opportunities available can lead to a rewarding job. From general labor to salespeople to experienced equipment operators and truck drivers, quality skills will be met with pay increases as you progress in the industry.

Moreover, jobs in the industry provide physical activity for those looking for a more hands-on career and the flexibility to work indoors or outdoors depending on the day-to-day tasks.


There are many jobs that the scrap recycling industry provides. These include:


  • Scale Operator – Purchases material through the door. Weighs items on floor scale and truck scales and assigns a value to material based on price per pound. Gives customers tickets to take to the ATM
  • Crane Operator – Responsible for loading trucks full of ferrous materials.  Assists in loading and unloading of material from customers. Keeps the back of the yard clean and orderly.
  • Truck Driver – Picks up and delivers Roll-off containers to customer job sites.  Picks up and delivers material in 53’ dry vans and flat beds. Interfaces with company accounts.
  • Mechanics – In-house mechanics address issues with equipment and perform routine preventative maintenance.
  • Welder/Fabricators – Repair and build items and equipment made of metal.
  • Maintenance Supervisors – Oversee maintenance for fleets of vehicles and equipment.
  • General Labor – Uses hand tools and machinery to separate and sort ferrous and non-ferrous scrap material. Assists customers with loading and unloading. Operates forklift and general equipment.
  • Yard Manager/Foreman – Oversees all staff in the yard.  Responsible for ensuring everyone remains on task, works as a team, and that customers are kept happy.
  • Operations Manager – Oversees operations for the entire facility. Coordinates all departments and is responsible for budget and strategy.  Operation Managers in the scrap industry increase efficiency and output, reduce waste, and increase profit.
  • Commercial Sales and Account Manager – Responsible for all indoor and outdoor salespeople and accounts. Establishes new relationships and maintains existing relationships. Communicates with dispatch to schedule pickups and deliveries.
  • Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals Buyers – Tasked with generating new leads and accounts for purchasing metals. Closes deals and communicates with Sales Manager.
  • Secretary – Performs office duties including but not limited to answering phones, emails, and mail, doing paperwork, issuing payments, and scheduling appointments.
  • Human Resources – Handles workplace issues and helps to resolve disputes between employees.  Responsible for onboarding.
  • Brokers – Arranges the movement of materials between buyers and sellers. Works with transportation companies to arrange freight and has a firm understanding of logistics and metal markets.
  • Dispatcher – Makes sure that drivers do their routes in the most logical order and keeps track of roll-off containers and rolling stock.


Scrap yard worker driving a forkliftOver the years, jobs in the scrap metal recycling industry have become much safer for workers thanks to increasingly stringent protocols developed to ensure a safe work environment. Workers are taught to employ proper storage, containment, and handling activities to minimize potential workplace hazards. Many organizations such as OSHA, EPA, DEQ, and DOT are involved in regulating safety standards in the scrap metal industry.

The scrap metal recycling industry is an important and often overlooked contributor to the economy. Managers of these operations have worked hard to create jobs and business opportunities that positively impact the environment and the economy.

In 2021, jobs in the scrap metal recycling industry supported 506,000 people directly and indirectly, equating to over $117 billion in economic contribution.

An astonishing 130 million metric tons of valuable commodities were processed annually, with North Carolina alone providing jobs to 15,000 employees while collecting 300k in taxes.

2022 data has yet to be compiled, but expectations are high, with forecasts indicating an increased job growth rate due to the improved stability of supply chains after the COVID pandemic. The scrap metal recycling industry provides essential work for people across the country and is invaluable for local economies.

Always Buying Scrap is a proud employer of over a dozen employees. We are often hiring for one or more positions. Please see our listings for available job openings.

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