Chefs plan and organise the preparation and cooking of food in dining and catering establishments.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Around two in three workers have at least a Certificate III or higher Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Training is generally through an apprenticeship which combines work on-the-job training with a qualification.

Tasks

  • planning menus, estimating food and labour costs, and ordering food supplies
  • monitoring quality of dishes at all stages of preparation and presentation
  • discussing food preparation issues with Managers, Dietitians and kitchen and waiting staff
  • demonstrating techniques and advising on cooking procedures
  • preparing and cooking food
  • explaining and enforcing hygiene regulations
  • may select and train staff
  • may freeze and preserve foods

Job Titles

  • Chef
  • Chef

    Specialisations: Chef de Partie, Commis Chef, Demi Chef, Second Chef, Sous Chef

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,050 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Associate Degree or Diploma
  • Employment Size

    85,000
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    74.6%
  • Female Share

    25.4%
  • Full-Time Share

    79.1%

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This is a very large occupation employing 85,000 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create more than 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Chefs work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Accommodation and Food Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; and Education and Training.
  • Full-time work is common. Full-time workers, on average, work 43.2 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,050 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 33 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 7 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200556100
200656900
200765700
200862800
200965500
201071500
201174000
201275500
201379200
201483900
201585000
2020104100

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsChefsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10501230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryChefsAll Jobs Average
Full-time79.168.4
Part-time20.931.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)43.240.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Accommodation and Food Services85.1
Health Care and Social Assistance5.6
Education and Training1.9
Arts and Recreation Services1.5
Other Industries5.9

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateChefsAll Jobs Average
NSW28.831.8
VIC30.025.5
QLD19.319.8
SA6.16.8
WA11.211.2
TAS2.12.0
NT1.21.1
ACT1.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketChefsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-191.6-5.45.4
20-248.6-9.99.9
25-3442.8-23.423.4
35-4420.7-21.721.7
45-5414.0-21.121.1
55-597.5-8.78.7
60-642.9-5.95.9
65 and Over1.9-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryChefsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males74.6Males53.6
Females25.4Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationChefsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree10.4-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma18.6-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV45.2-18.918.9
Year 1215.4-18.718.7
Years 11 & 108.2-17.717.7
Below Year 102.2-8.18.1

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed.
Around two in three workers have at least a Certificate III or higher Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Training is generally through an apprenticeship which combines work on-the-job training with a qualification.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Chefs who are reliable, hardworking and have strong people skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Food Production

    93% Important

    Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.

  2. Production and Processing

    79% Important

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  3. Customer and Personal Service

    75% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  4. Education and Training

    73% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  5. Mathematics

    73% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Training and Teaching Others

    85% Important

    Identifying the educational needs of others, developing training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

  2. Thinking Creatively

    84% Important

    Using your own ideas to developing, designing, or creating something new.

  3. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    83% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  4. Coaching and Developing Others

    82% Important

    Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping others to improve.

  5. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    82% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Occupational Information Network Chefs and Head Cooks Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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