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

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

You usually need an apprenticeship in commercial cookery to work as a Chef.

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

All Chefs

  • $1,250 Weekly Pay
  • Very strong Future Growth
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 100,800 workers Employment Size
  • High skill Skill level rating
  • 72% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 46 hours Average full-time
  • 35 years Average age
  • 25% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Chefs (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 100,800 in 2018 to 117,500 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 81,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 16,200 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2018.
  • Location: Chefs work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Accommodation and Food Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; and Arts and Recreation Services.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,250 per week (below the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Many work full-time (72%, higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 46 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).
  • Gender: 25% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business talks with employers who have tried to fill vacancies. Find out more in the latest report on Chefs.

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
200865100.0
200966500
201068100
201169700
201282500
201376400
201479400
201583900
201692300
201791100
2018100800
2023117500

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.
EarningsChefsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings12501460

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 Services84.4
Health Care and Social Assistance5.2
Arts and Recreation Services2.3
Manufacturing1.6
Other Industries6.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateChefsAll Jobs Average
NSW32.831.6
VIC26.825.6
QLD18.720.0
SA6.27.0
WA10.510.8
TAS2.02.0
NT1.01.0
ACT1.91.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketChefsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-191.5-5.05.0
20-2410.4-9.39.3
25-3437.4-22.922.9
35-4425.1-22.022.0
45-5416.3-21.621.6
55-595.3-9.09.0
60-642.9-6.06.0
65 and Over1.1-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: 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 QualificationChefsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate1.9-10.110.1
Bachelor degree10.7-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma17.1-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV46.9-21.121.1
Year 1213.6-18.118.1
Year 112.0-4.84.8
Year 10 and below7.8-12.512.5

You usually need an apprenticeship in commercial cookery to work as a Chef.

Membership with Australian Culinary Federation may be useful.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • food handling certificate
  • food safety supervisor certificate

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

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Food Production

    66% Skill level

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

  2. Production and Processing

    63% Skill level

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

  3. Education and Training

    62% Skill level

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

  4. Administration and Management

    60% Skill level

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  5. Customer and Personal Service

    58% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

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, 35-1011.00 - Chefs and Head Cooks.

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. Face-to-Face Discussions

    98% Important

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

  2. Telephone

    97% Important

    How often do you talk on the telephone?

  3. Time Pressure

    97% Important

    How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?

  4. Spend Time Standing

    96% Important

    How much time do you spend standing?

  5. Electronic Mail

    96% Important

    How often do you use electronic mail?

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, 35-1011.00 - Chefs and Head Cooks.

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