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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 declined significantly between 2019 and 2020, with the Pubs, Taverns and Bars, and Clubs (Hospitality) sectors recording the lowest employment levels since reporting began in 2000, at 47,700 and 32,300 respectively. These numbers increased in 2021, with Pubs, Taverns and Bars more than doubling to 96,600 and Clubs (Hospitality) recording a 30% increase to 42,100. A notable decline was also recorded at the same time for the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services sector, from 634,900 in 2019 to 495,300 in 2020, which then increased by almost a third (32%) in 2021 to 654,800. Employment levels across these sectors are projected to grow by 2025.

Employment levels have increased in 2021 for all occupations apart from Fast Food Cooks which remained relatively stable. While increases in employment levels by 2025 are predicted for Chefs, Fast Food Cooks, and Kitchenhands (by 27%, 25% and 8% respectively), the occupations of Bakers and Pastrycooks, Cooks, and Food Trades Assistants are expected to decline (by 11%, 5% and 27% respectively).

Within Cafes and Restaurants, 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 between 2020 and 2025, with Sales Assistants and Waiters expecting the most significant increases (at 25% and 18% respectively).

In the Takeaway Food Services sector, Sales Assistants (General) had the highest proportion of employment (32%) and is expecting the largest employment growth to 2025, at 25%. Kitchenhands and Fast Food Cooks make up the majority of the remaining proportion of this sector (16% and 15% respectively) and employment in both of these occupations is projected to grow by 2025. Waiters are also projected to experience employment growth during this time, by about 18%. In the Catering Services sector, Kitchenhands make up the largest share of the sector (21%), with employment levels projected to increase by 14% to 2025.

All of the main occupations within the Accommodation sector are expected to grow between 2020 and 2025, with the highest growth expected for Waiters at 18%. 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 12% in both sectors between 2020 and 2025.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Cookery-related qualifications have increased overall since 2016, with a decrease between 2017 and 2018 (from 75,270 to 64,370) and peaking at 81,000 in 2020. Program completions have fluctuated, continuing their downward trend to 20,870 in 2020 from a peak of 24,620 in 2017.

Approximately 40% of enrolments were at the certificate III level, followed by certificate IV (34%) and certificate II (26%) level. More than two thirds (68%) of program enrolments were in commercial cookery qualifications with the intended occupations of Cook and Chef. A further 26% of program enrolments were in kitchen operations with the sole intended occupation of Kitchenhand.   

Private training providers delivered over half (62%) of training overall, followed by TAFE institutes (24%) and schools (11%). This varied between qualifications with schools delivering a much higher proportion of training for kitchen operations (42%), while private training providers were higher for commercial cookery (79%).  

More than half (58%) of all training was funded through international fee for service, which was notably higher for enterprise providers (88%). Overall, around 28% 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 97% and 65% respectively.

More than half (51%) of students resided overseas, with New South Wales (17%) and Victoria (16%) making up a large proportion of the remaining. Most training was delivered in Victoria (38%), New South Wales (29%) and Queensland (13%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements have declined by almost half (46%) since 2011, from approximately 6,330 in 2011 to 3,410 in 2020, with a peak of around 7,710 in 2013. Completions followed a similar pattern, with 2,700 completions in 2011, peaking at around 3,490 in 2014 then decreasing to roughly 1,580 in 2020. 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 New South Wales (29%), Victoria (26%) and Queensland (20%).

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 Bar Attendants and Baristas, and Waiters, with Compass Group PLC, Burger King and Spotless Group 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. This was supported by annual revenue growth figures of just under 2% between 2014 and 2019 for restaurants in Australia. 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, 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

NSW Business Chamber - 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 Network

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, Employment Projections, available from the 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).
  • Employment projections to May 2025, 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 2021, 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 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total, 2001 to 2021, 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 2021, 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 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • 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)

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
    • 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 Operations
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 subject enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 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: 21 Jan 2022
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