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Overview

This page provides information and data on Cookery, which is one component of the Tourism and Hospitality industry.

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) categorises the Hospitality industry as encompassing businesses that provide accommodation, food and beverages such as cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services; pubs, taverns and bars; hotels, motels and other accommodation and hospitality clubs. Environments for the Cooking sector range from fine dining restaurants and clubs to catering to mining sites and other mass operations. With regards to Cookery occupations, in May 2018 there were close to 370,000 people employed in the following occupations:

  • Bakers and Pastry cooks
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Fast Food Cooks
  • Food Trades Assistants
  • Kitchenhands.

Nationally recognised training for Cookery occupations is delivered under the SIT -Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package.

For more information on Cookery, Hospitality, and Events occupations and industry sectors, please visit the respective pages. 

Information is sourced from the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

 

IRC and Skills Forecast

Employment trends

Employment Snapshot

Employment levels in the Food and Beverage Services industry grew from approximately 500,000 in 2000 to over 800,000 in 2019. The majority of employment is within the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services industry. Employment in this sector is expected to grow substantially to 2024 and growth is projected across most occupations within this sector by 2024.

The number of workers employed as Food Trades Workers (Chefs, and Bakers and Pastry Cooks) and Food Preparation Assistant Workers (Kitchenhands and Fast Food Cooks) has also increased overall between 2000 and 2019. An overall decline in employment levels have been recorded for Cooks and Food Trades Assistants. Increases in employment levels between 2019 and 2024 are predicted for most of these occupations, with the exception of Bakers and Pastry Cooks.

Within Cafes and Restaurants, the highest proportion of people were employed as Waiters (25%), Chefs (15%), and Café and Restaurant Managers (14%). Growth is predicted across all occupations within the Cafés and Restaurants industry between 2019 and 2024, with Café Workers and Chefs expecting the most significant increases (at 19% and 16% respectively).

In the Takeaway Food Services sector, Sales Assistants (General) had the highest proportion of employment (32%), but employment growth is projected to be modest to 2024 (at 5%). Kitchenhands and Fast Food Cooks each make up around 15% of this sector and employment in both of these occupations is projected to grow by about 10% to 2024. In the Catering Services sector, Kitchenhands also make up the largest share of the sector (21%).

All of the main occupations within the Accommodation sector are expected to grow by 10% or more between 2019 and 2024. Bar Attendants and Baristas have the highest proportion of employment in the Pubs, Taverns and Bars industry at 30%, as well as in the Clubs sector (24%), and employment in this occupation is expected to grow by more than 10% in both industries between 2019 and 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2018, there were approximately 64,370 program enrolments in cookery qualifications, along with close to 18,730 program completions. This represents a decrease from the previous year, as both program completions and enrolments peaked in 2017 at around 75,270 and 24,610 respectively. Around 38% of enrolments were at the certificate II level, 40% at certificate III level, and almost 22% at certificate IV level.

More than half of program enrolments were in commercial cookery qualifications (55%) with the intended occupations of Cook and Chef. A further 38% of program enrolments were in kitchen operations with the sole intended occupation of Kitchenhand.   

Private training providers delivered 43% of training overall, TAFE institutes delivered 36% and schools delivered 16%. This varied between qualifications with schools delivering a much higher proportion of training for kitchen operations (41%), while TAFE institutes delivered a greater share of the training for catering operations (58%) and private training providers were higher for commercial cookery (64%) and Asian cookery (63%).  

Training was mainly Commonwealth and state government funded (46%) and international fee for service (44%), with the remainder funded by domestic fee for service (10%). Commonwealth and state funding was highest in schools (97%), while international fee for service was notably higher through enterprise providers (72%) and private training providers (68%). 

More than one third (35%) of students resided overseas, followed by Victoria (25%) and New South Wales (21%).

The majority of training was delivered in Victoria (42%) and New South Wales (27%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements have declined overall, from approximately 7,040 in 2010 to 4,050 in 2018, with a peak of close to 7,710 in 2013. Completions followed a similar pattern, with around 2,700 completions in 2010, peaking at around 3,490 in 2014 then decreasing to roughly 2,070 in 2018. The majority of apprenticeships and traineeships have the intended occupation of Cook.

Most apprenticeships and traineeships were reported by New South Wales (29%), Victoria (26%) and Queensland (21%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast the top priority skills in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry (inclusive of the Cookery sector) are:

  • Teamwork and communication
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Self-management.

The importance of communication skills is supported by findings from the job vacancy data, which shows that communication is the top soft skill in demand. According to job advertisements, the top two occupations in demand are Bar Attendants and Baristas, and Waiters, with Compass Group PLC and Burger King the top two employers.

With tourism identified as one of the five key growth sectors for Australia in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, it has been estimated that the following job roles within the Cookery sector will be requiring a significant increase in workers by 2023:

  • Chefs – an additional 16,800 workers
  • Kitchenhands – an additional 16,100 workers.

In addition to tourism contributing to the growth of this sector, the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also highlights that consumer trends around increasing health consciousness, as well as busier and time poor lifestyles are having a positive impact with the demand for eating out and ordering ready-made meals steadily growing. This supported by annual revenue growth of just under 2% over the last five years for restaurants in Australia, while other providers such as pubs, bars and nightclubs, as well as cafes and coffee shops have also experienced similar growth.

The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the evolution of social media and online platforms through technological advancements as significant influencers in shaping the sector. Online platforms like UberEATS and Menulog have transformed the way business is being done, with online food ordering and delivery enabling restaurants access to a larger customer base. In addition, social media is also transforming the sector with trends like ‘foodstagramming’, where more than 1 in 5 Instagram users are posting a photograph of their food. Online reviews and commentary have also become commonplace with regards to how decisions are made about dining, food and beverage choices.

Tourism Research Australia’s Australian Tourism Labour Force Report: 2015-2020 provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of the tourism labour force and projects skills demands and shortages until 2020. Consistently, the Tourism industry identifies shortages for Chefs and Cooks. The report also cites a large increase in the proportion of businesses identifying skills deficiencies, with 69% reporting skills deficiencies amongst their staff. It appears that businesses are not finding the skills they need to operate effectively, and this may affect the productivity and competitiveness of the sector.

In responding to Austrade’s report, the Tourism and Hospitality Careers report found that employers in the Tourism industry identified the following concerns about current tourism and hospitality training and education:

  • Courses are not necessarily based on specific workplace needs
  • Trainers lack practical industry experience
  • Training is too theoretical and not equipping people with key practical skills
  • Hospitality courses do not dedicate sufficient time to industry placements
  • Insufficient focus on computer/IT skills
  • The perception that students have the attitude that you need to attend but not necessarily learn.  

The report found that knowledge of formal training pathways across the sector was very low among students and parents, while small to medium employers in the sector frequently indicated they valued practical experience over formal qualifications. This is most commonly on the basis that an experienced employee would be less costly to train and deliver value to the business from the outset of their employment, and because formal training has an insufficient practical content to deliver ‘work ready’ graduates.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • employment projections to May 2023, by ANZSIC 3 digit industries:
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality).
  • employment projections to May 2023, by selected ANZSCO occupations, including, but not limited to:
    • 3511 Bakers and Pastrycooks
    • 3513 Chefs
    • 3514 Cooks
    • 8511 Fast Food Cooks
    • 8512 Food Trades Assistants
    • 8513 Kitchenhands.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total, 2000 to 2018, May quarter, by ANZSIC 3 digit industries:
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality).

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations:
    • 3511 Bakers and Pastrycooks
    • 3513 Chefs
    • 3514 Cooks
    • 8511 Fast Food Cooks
    • 8512 Food Trades Assistants
    • 8513 Kitchenhands.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by:
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package
  • Asian Cookery
    • SIT20407 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • SIT20412 - Certificate II in Asian Cookery
    • SIT30907 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • SIT30912 - Certificate III in Asian Cookery
    • SIT30913 - Certificate III in Asian Cookery
    • SIT31116 - Certificate III in Asian Cookery
    • SIT40507 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • SIT40512 - Certificate IV in Asian Cookery
    • SIT40513 - Certificate IV in Asian Cookery
    • SIT40816 - Certificate IV in Asian Cookery
    • THH21702 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • THH21797 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • THH32097 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Chinese)
    • THH32197 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Thai)
    • THH32297 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Indian)
    • THH32497 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Malay and Nonya)
    • THH32597 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Japanese)
    • THH32697 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Vietnamese)
    • THH33102 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery)
    • THH41897 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Asian Cookery - Indian)
  • Catering
    • SIT30916 - Certificate III in Catering Operations
    • SIT31007 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    • SIT31012 - Certificate III in Catering Operations
    • SIT31013 - Certificate III in Catering Operations
    • SIT40607 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    • SIT40612 - Certificate IV in Catering Operations
    • SIT40613 - Certificate IV in Catering Operations
    • THH21997 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    • THH32902 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    • THH32997 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
    • THH42597 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Catering Operations)
  • Commercial Cookery
    • SIT30807 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • SIT30812 - Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
    • SIT30813 - Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
    • SIT30816 - Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
    • SIT40407 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • SIT40412 - Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery
    • SIT40413 - Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery
    • SIT40516 - Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery
    • THH31502 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • THH21297 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • THH31597 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • THH41302 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • THH41397 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
  • Commercial Cookery
    • SIT10307 - Certificate I in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
    • SIT20307 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
    • SIT20312 - Certificate II in Kitchen Operations
    • SIT20416 - Certificate II in Kitchen Operations
    • THH22002 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
    • THH11197 - Certificate I in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
  • Patisserie
    • THH41497 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • SIT31016 - Certificate III in Patisserie
    • SIT31107 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • SIT31112 - Certificate III in Patisserie
    • SIT31113 - Certificate III in Patisserie
    • SIT40707 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • SIT40712 - Certificate IV in Patisserie
    • SIT40713 - Certificate IV in Patisserie
    • SIT40716 - Certificate IV in Patisserie.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • Managers, Technicians and Trades Workers, Community and Personal Service Workers, and Labourers
    • 45 Food and Beverage Services.
  • Employers
    • 4311 Bar Attendants and Baristas
    • 4315 Waiters
    • 1411 Café and Restaurant Managers
    • 8512 Food Trades Assistants
    • 3513 Chefs
    • 45 Food and Beverage Services.
Updated: 02 Apr 2020
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