Grave Digger

Gardener working with plants

Grave diggers are general ground maintenance workers who tend graves and memorial sites at cemeteries and crematoria.

As well as general ground maintenance grave diggers will also:
•    Measure and mark out grave spaces
•    Use a mechanical excavator and hand tools to dig graves
•    Work with other funeral and cemetery staff, including crematorium technicians, cemetery inspectors and superintendents, council officials and general gardening staff.

Working Conditions

Grave Diggers usually work 9-5, Monday to Friday, but may also be needed at weekends.

They work mainly outdoors, often in all kinds of weather. It can be physically demanding, and involve lots of climbing and bending.



Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.

Starting salary:


Ending Salary:



Getting started

Although there are no formal academic entry requirements for this position it may be possible to enter as an assistant or through a Modern Apprenticeship programme.

What experienced workers can do

  • Measure and mark out plots 
  • Excavate plots
  • Backfill the plots
  • Use hand tools
  • Use mechanically controlled tools
  • Liaise with different other funeral and cemetery staff
  • Ground maintenance.

Personal qualities you should have

  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Able to work as part of a team or on your own
  • Friendly and approachable.

Next steps

The number of people employed in cemeteries is greater than at crematoria. Although there is little scope for promotion within practical cemetery work itself, cemetery workers or gravediggers who do some clerical work and undertake training, can progress into cemetery administration positions. 

Cemetery workers who get involved in cemetery maintenance could also move into gardening and ground maintenance positions.

Useful links

British Association of Landscape Industries

British International Golf Greenkeepers Association

Greenkeepers Training Committee

Horticulture Jobs

Horticultural Trades Association

Institute of Groundsmanship

Institute of Horticulture

My world of work

Royal Horticultural Society