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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. Cookery occupations can include the following:

  • 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 Events, Hospitality, and Tourism occupations and industry sectors, please visit the respective pages. 

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

 

Employment trends

Employment Snapshot

Employment levels in the Food and Beverage Services industry increased between 2002 and 2019 before declining significantly between 2019 and 2020, with both the Pubs, Taverns and Bars sector, and Clubs (Hospitality) sector recording the lowest employment levels of this reporting period in 2020 (at 47,700 and 32,400 respectively). Employment levels increased in the following two years, with Pubs, Taverns and Bars more than doubling to 97,500 in 2022 and Clubs (Hospitality) recording a 35% increase to 43,900 in 2022, yet both figures remain below their respective peak numbers of 2019. Employment levels across these two sectors are projected to grow by 2025.

While a notable decline was also recorded between 2019 and 2020 for the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services sector (down 22%), employment levels have since increased by more than 32% to peak at 656,500 in 2022 and are projected to increase further to 695,700 by 2025.

Employment levels for the occupations of Kitchenhands, Fast Food Cooks and Chefs increased overall between 2002 and 2019 and declined in 2020 before increasing to peaks in 2022 of 145,100, 60,000 and 113,700 respectively. While the employment level for Fast food Cooks is projected to increase further to 67,200 by 2026, the occupations of Kitchenhands and Chefs are projected to decline over the same period.

Bakers and Pastrycooks employment levels have fluctuated since 2002, increasing to 37,000 in 2019 and declining to 22,900 in 2020 before increasing to 38,400 in 2021. Levels decreased in 2022 to 36,500 and are projected to decline further to 30,800 by 2026. Employment levels for the occupation of Cooks have also fluctuated, with a low of 32,900 in 2003 and 2004 and a peak of 48,100 in 2018. Levels declined to 40,700 in 2022 and are projected to increase to 45,200 by 2026. Food Trades Assistants have had steady growth since 2017, rising to a peak of 9,800 in 2022 and are projected to decline to 8,400 by 2026.

Within the Cafes and Restaurants sector, the highest proportion of people were employed as Waiters (25%), Chefs (15%), and Cafe and Restaurant Managers (14%). Growth is predicted across all occupations within the Cafes and Restaurants sector to 2026, with Cafe and Restaurant Managers and Fast Food Cooks projected to have the most significant increases (at 27% and 18% respectively).

In the Takeaway Food Services sector, the occupation of Sales Assistants (General) had the highest proportion of employment at 32%, followed by Kitchenhands (16%) and Fast Food Cooks (15%). Cafe and Restaurant Managers are projected to experience the biggest growth to 2026 (up 27%), followed by Fast Food Cooks at 18%.

For the Catering Services sector, Kitchenhands make up the largest share of the sector (21%) followed by Chefs (14%), with employment levels for Chefs projected to increase by 14% to 2026. Cafe and Restaurant Managers make up 11% of the workforce within this sector and have the greatest projected increase in employment levels, with 27% growth projected to 2026.

All of the main occupations within the Accommodation sector are expected to grow by 2026, with the highest growth projected for Chefs at 14%, followed by Waiters at 12%. Bar Attendants and Baristas have the highest proportion of employment in the Pubs, Taverns and Bars sector at 30%, as well as in the Clubs sector (24%), and employment in this occupation is expected to grow by 8% in both sectors to 2026. The biggest projected increase in employment by 2026 in the Clubs sector is for Chefs (14%), and for Cafe and Restaurant Managers (27%) in the Pubs, Taverns and Bars sector.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Cookery-related qualifications decreased between 2017 and 2018 (from 75,270 to 64,370) before increasing each year to a peak of 86,720 in 2021. Program completions followed this trend, declining from 24,650 in 2017 to 20,010 in 2018 before increasing each year to a peak of 28,370 in 2021.

The majority of enrolments were either at the certificate III level (39%) or certificate IV level (38%), with the remainder at the certificate II level. Almost three quarters (71%) of program enrolments were in commercial cookery qualifications with the intended occupations of Cook or Chef. A further 23% of program enrolments were in kitchen operations with the sole intended occupation of Kitchenhand.   

Private training providers delivered over two thirds (66%) of training overall, followed by TAFE institutes (21%) and schools (10%). This varied between qualifications with schools delivering a much higher proportion of training for kitchen operations (44%), while private training providers were higher for commercial cookery (81%).  

More than three fifths (61%) of all training was funded through international fee for service, which was notably higher for enterprise providers (92%). Overall, around 27% of training was Commonwealth and state funded, with some variation between training providers, including schools and TAFE institutes which had higher proportion of Commonwealth and state funding, at 98% and 71% respectively.

More than half (55%) of students resided overseas, with New South Wales (15%) and Victoria (15%) making up a large proportion of the remaining. Victoria delivered 38% of training during 2021, followed by New South Wales (28%) and Queensland (13%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements peaked in 2013 at around 7,710 and fell each year to a low of just over 3,450 in 2020 before increasing in 2021 to around 4,460. Completions followed a similar pattern, peaking at around 3,490 in 2014 , and after a slight increase in 2016, decreasing each year to a low in 2020 of approximately 1,590, before increasing to around 1,620 in 2021. The majority of apprenticeships and traineeships are training in commercial cookery with most having the intended occupation of Cook. Three quarters of all apprenticeships and traineeships were reported by Victoria (27%), New South Wales (27%), and Queensland (21%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s Data Builder.  

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 adaptability
  • Self-management.

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

The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlighted that consumer trends around increasing health consciousness, as well as busier and time poor lifestyles having a positive impact on the demand for eating out and ordering ready-made meals. Other venues 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 also identified 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.

The report Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce found that in the Accommodation and Food Services industry, approximately 222,000 people will find their roles at risk of automation over the next 15 years to 2035, with 57% of those impacted being female. This report also suggests the role most susceptible to automation in this industry is a Fast Food Cook.

According to Longitudinal Study of Student Outcomes: Aged Care and Commercial Cookery: Wave 2 Report, retention of staff in the Commercial Cookery sector has long been an issue. Poor perception of jobs in the sector, coupled with lower pay rates than other industries, means that all too often jobs in this sector are considered short-term options. A study undertaken in 2018 found recent graduates and workers in Commercial Cookery remained relatively satisfied with their jobs, however early insights showed that negative experiences over time with workplace factors such as pay, the work schedule and the work not being stimulating are prompting individuals to leave the sector.

FutureNow’s Food and Beverage Industry Snapshot reveals the Tourism and Hospitality industry was one of the most extensively disrupted industries in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut the sector down resulting in an the stand down or dismissal of tens of thousands of workers. As the shutdown was followed by border closures and government wage subsidies, the availability of experienced food and beverage workers in Western Australia was severely reduced, profoundly affecting the key hospitality employee groups of international and casual workers. With the lifting of restrictions, the rise in customer demand for food and beverage has created increased demand for chefs and cooks, with high levels of interest from employers trying to address the lack of available workers in the immediate term.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

 

IRC and skills forecast

Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Industry Reference Committee

 

Relevant Research

Food and Beverage Industry Snapshot - FutureNow Creative and Leisure Industries Training Council

Longitudinal Study of Student Outcomes: Aged Care and Commercial Cookery: Wave 2 Report - Skills IQ

Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce – Faethm

 

Government bodies

APEC Tourism Working Group

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

Destination NSW

South Australian Tourism Commission

Tourism & Events Queensland

Tourism Australia

Tourism Research Australia

Tourism NT

Tourism Tasmania

Tourism Victoria

Tourism Western Australia

Visit Canberra

 

State-based industry associations

Business NSW - Tourism

Queensland Tourism Industry Council

Tasmanian Hospitality Association

Tourism Council Western Australia

Tourism Industry Council South Australia

Victoria Tourism Industry Council

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Accommodation Association of Australia

Australian Culinary Federation

Australian Hotels Association

Australian Regional Tourism

Australian Tourism Export Council

Australian Tourism Industry Council

Clubs NSW

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia

Restaurant & Catering Australia

Tourism Accommodation Australia

Tourism Hospitality Catering Institute of Australia

Tourism and Transport Forum Australia

 

Employee associations

Australian Services Union

United Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Industry Employment Projections viewed 1 August 2021, Labour Market Information Portal

  • Employment projections to May 2025, by ANZSIC 3 digit industries:
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality).

 

National Skills Commission 2022, Occupation Employment Projections viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/topics/employment-projections

  • Employment projections to May 2026, 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 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022

  • Employed total, 2002 to 2022, 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 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations, 2002 to 2022, May quarter:
    • 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)

to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

                                                                                                                                               

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
    • SIT20516 - 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
    • SIT31121 - 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
    • SIT40821 - 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 Operations
    • SIT30916 - Certificate III in Catering Operations
    • SIT30921 - Certificate III in Catering
    • 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
    • SIT40616 - 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
    • SIT30821 - 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
    • THH21297 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
    • THH31502 - Certificate III 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)
  • Kitchen Operations
    • 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
    • THH11197 - Certificate I in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
    • THH22002 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
  • Patisserie
    • SIT31016 - Certificate III in Patisserie
    • SIT31021 - 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
    • THH21397 - Certificate II in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • THH31602 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • THH31697 - Certificate III in Hospitality (Patisserie)
    • THH41497 - Certificate IV in Hospitality (Patisserie).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2017 to 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 program completions
  • 2021 subject enrolments.

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:

  • 2012 to 2021 commencements
  • 2012 to 2021 completions 
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2021 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Lightcast 2022, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Boston, viewed August 2022, https://lightcast.io/apac.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2019 and June 2022 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • Managers
    • Technicians and Trades Workers
    • Community and Personal Service Workers
    • Labourers
    • 45 Food and Beverage Services
  • Employers
    • 4311 Bar Attendants and Baristas
    • 4315 Waiters
    • 8512 Food Trades Assistants
    • 1411 Cafe and Restaurant Managers
    • 3513 Chefs
    • 45 Food and Beverage Services.
Updated: 30 Nov 2022
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