Chef Job Outlook
Get information about the culinary career outlook and industry statistics.
If you're thinking about starting a culinary career, there are some encouraging signs for today's aspiring chefs. The restaurant industry is thriving. As one of the largest private-sector employers, the restaurant industry employs 12.9 million people, in both front-of-the-house and kitchen positions, according to the 2012 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant Industry Forecast.
However, the career outlook for culinary school graduates who want executive chef positions or jobs in top restaurants isn't all rosy. These aspiring chefs should expect to face tough competition. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, there are 100,600 chefs and head cooks, and 813,700 food preparation workers.
Chef Job Outlook, Forecasts and Facts
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the number of jobs for chefs, head cooks, and food preparation and serving supervisors is expected to increase by 9 percent through 2020. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
- The restaurant industry will continue to fuel U.S. employment in the year ahead as the nation’s second largest private sector employer.
- In 2012, restaurant sales will reach a high of $632 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over 2011.
- The restaurant industry will add jobs at a 2.3 percent rate in 2012, outpacing the 1.3 percent gain in total U.S. employment.
Getting the Culinary Career You Want
Despite the favorable outlook for the restaurant and food service industry, getting that plum chef job remains a competitive undertaking. A culinary degree can make you a more competitive job candidate as you start your culinary career, so look into your culinary school options, to see if this is the right path for you.
In addition to all your qualifications, it will take determination and hard work to put you on track to reach your culinary career goals. Your positive attitude and commitment to your career may be the biggest asset you have when applying for the jobs you want.
Sources: National Restaurant Association; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Culinary Arts Resources
- Choosing a Culinary Arts Program
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- Culinary Jobs and Externships
- How Cooking Schools Work
- Cooking School Student Interview
- Professor Profile: Inside Culinary Schools
- Recreational Cooking Classes
- Finding a Local Cooking Class
- Career Services at Culinary Arts Schools
- Chef Job Description
- Culinary Career Outlook
- Interview: Inside Chef Jobs
- Jobs for Chef School Graduates
- Cooking Tools: A Chef's Top Ten
- Resources for Culinary Careers
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