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

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Around half of workers have not completed any post school qualifications (that is, they have finished Year 10, 11 or 12). Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

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

Job Titles

  • Cook

    Fast Facts

    • $800 Weekly Pay
    • 45,500 workers Employment Size
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Medium skill Skill level rating
    • Average unemployment Unemployment
    • 52.8% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 37.1 hours Average full-time
    • 33 years Average age
    • 53.9% female Gender Share

    The number of Cooks 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 2017.
    • Location: Cooks work in most regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Accommodation and Food Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; and Retail Trade.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers earn around $800 per week (lower than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: More than half work full-time (52.8%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunities to work part-time.
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 37.1 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 33 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (23.9%).
    • Gender: 53.9% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

    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 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.
    EarningsCooksAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings8001230

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Services65.9
    Health Care and Social Assistance21.3
    Retail Trade4.5
    Manufacturing2.3
    Other Industries6.0

    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 2017, 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.
    StateCooksAll Jobs Average
    NSW28.731.6
    VIC28.726.2
    QLD20.219.7
    SA5.96.7
    WA10.110.8
    TAS3.22.0
    NT1.41.1
    ACT1.81.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketCooksAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-196.9-5.25.2
    20-2417.0-9.99.9
    25-3429.2-23.623.6
    35-4414.3-21.721.7
    45-5415.5-20.820.8
    55-599.4-8.88.8
    60-645.5-6.06.0
    65 and Over2.2-4.04.0

    Education Level

    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 QualificationCooksAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree13-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma14.7-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV15.3-18.918.9
    Year 1224.8-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 1021.8-17.717.7
    Below Year 1010.3-8.18.1

    A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed.
    Around half of workers have not completed any post school qualifications (that is, they have finished Year 10, 11 or 12). Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

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

    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
    • 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.

    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.

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Food Production

      74% Important

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

    2. Production and Processing

      60% Important

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

    3. English Language

      58% Important

      English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    4. Customer and Personal Service

      55% Important

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

    5. Public Safety and Security

      54% Important

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

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The 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.

    Activities

    These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

    1. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

      71% Important

      Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

    2. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

      69% Important

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

    3. Getting Information

      68% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

    4. Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings

      67% Important

      Checking objects, actions, or events, keeping an eye out for problems.

    5. Performing General Physical Activities

      67% Important

      Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

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

    go to top