Cooks prepare, season and cook food in dining and catering establishments.

    You can work as a Cook without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. A course in cooking might be helpful.

    Tasks

    • examining foodstuffs to ensure quality
    • regulating temperatures of ovens, grills and other cooking equipment
    • preparing and cooking food
    • seasoning food during cooking
    • portioning food, placing it on plates, and adding gravies, sauces and garnishes
    • storing food in temperature controlled facilities
    • preparing food to meet special dietary requirements
    • may plan menus and estimate food requirements
    • may train other kitchen staff and apprentices

    All Cooks

    • $1,068 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Average unemployment Unemployment
    • 45,500 workers Employment Size
    • Medium skill Skill level rating
    • 48% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 43 hours Average full-time
    • 35 years Average age
    • 54% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Cooks (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 45,500 in 2018 to 51,800 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 35,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 7,000 a year).

    • Size: This is a large occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
    • Location: Cooks work in many regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Accommodation and Food Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; and Retail Trade.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,068 per week (below the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Around half work full-time (48%, less than the average of 66%), showing there are many opportunities to work part-time.
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 43 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 35 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (23%).
    • Gender: 54% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200837300
    200942200
    201036700
    201139400
    201237900
    201337500
    201435400
    201532600
    201635700
    201742900
    201845500
    202351800

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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.
    EarningsCooksAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings10681460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Accommodation and Food Services68.1
    Health Care and Social Assistance16.5
    Retail Trade3.7
    Education and Training2.3
    Other Industries9.4

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateCooksAll Jobs Average
    NSW31.131.6
    VIC24.525.6
    QLD20.320.0
    SA7.57.0
    WA10.910.8
    TAS2.82.0
    NT1.51.0
    ACT1.41.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketCooksAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-198.5-5.05.0
    20-2414.8-9.39.3
    25-3426.3-22.922.9
    35-4416.8-22.022.0
    45-5417.5-21.621.6
    55-597.8-9.09.0
    60-645.3-6.06.0
    65 and Over3.0-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationCooksAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate2.1-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree9.3-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma13.1-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV22.0-21.121.1
    Year 1225.0-18.118.1
    Year 117.0-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below21.5-12.512.5

    You can work as a Cook without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. A course in cooking might be helpful.

    Membership with Australian Culinary Federation may be useful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • food handling certificate
    • working with children check

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
    • You might be interested in Tourism, Travel and Hospitality VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

    Employers look for Cooks who have good interpersonal skills, who are reliable and are well presented.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Food Production

      45% Skill level

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

    2. Production and Processing

      38% Skill level

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

    3. Public Safety and Security

      37% Skill level

      Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

    4. Education and Training

      35% Skill level

      Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    5. Mathematics

      33% Skill level

      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 35-2014.00 - Cooks, Restaurant.

    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.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Spend Time Standing

      95% Important

      How much time do you spend standing?

    2. Face-to-Face Discussions

      93% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    3. Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel

      89% Important

      How much time do you spend using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?

    4. Contact With Others

      86% Important

      How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

    5. Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings

      83% Important

      How often are you exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 35-2014.00 - Cooks, Restaurant.

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