(NOC 6241)


These comments apply to the career grouping of Chefs and Cooks.

Job prospects in this career are rated LIMITED because:

Over the last few years, the number of chefs has increased significantly. Job growth in this occupation depends mainly on trends in the food industry and consumer preferences. Given that trends should improve in these aspects after the 2009 recession, it is expected that the number of chefs will increase significantly over the next few years.

Job opportunities will come mainly from employment increase, but also from positions left vacant by chefs retiring, being promoted to restaurant and food service managers (NOC 0631), opening their own restaurants or leaving the occupation. Experienced chefs can also progress to similar positions in first class restaurants. In first class restaurants, chefs must start out as apprentice-chefs, then progress to assistant cooks and finally sous-chefs under the supervision of a chef before becoming qualified cooks and eventually chefs.

Job openings are available first and foremost to experienced cooks (NOC 6242), to unemployed chefs and, to a lesser degrre, to vocational training graduates. A great number of positions should be filled by immigrants who satisfy occupational requirements.

The restaurant industry is extremely sensitive to the economic climate, as dining out is often one of the first spending cuts consumers will make. On the other hand, once that climate improves, it is usually one of the first luxuries they decide they can afford. After a difficult year because of the recession in 2009, the industry should benefit somewhat from the modest growth expected over the forecast period (2010-2014).

An aging population, an increase in the number of one-person households and the rise in the number of women in the work force have clearly benefited the restaurant industry, and this includes not only conventional establishments, but also take-away counters, delivery outlets and catering services. This already strong trend would have been even stronger, had it not been for spectacular growth in sales of ready-to-eat and pre-cooked food products in food stores.

The food services industry is fiercely competitive, whether in the chains or in independent establishments. Consumer preferences also change rapidly. It is certain, however, that consumers appreciate restaurants with a special ambiance, whether it is an image, atmosphere or the type of cuisine being served - exotic, diet or gourmet. The role of chefs is obviously critical in the fight to attract customers. In addition, customers very much like to try out different types of cuisine. As each type of cuisine requires a separate chef or sous-chef, this consumer preference helps to increase employment slightly, but more for chefs than for cooks.

In addition, the medium- and long-term effect of an aging population will also result in increased numbers in reception centres and long-term care hospitals. This trend should result in a demand for chefs in the health sector while it will be slowed by a decrease in periods of hospitalization in acute care hospitals. The trend will not necessarily result in an increase in the number of chefs in the health care sector. In fact, health care establishments are increasingly subcontracting food services to catering companies (included in special food services industry), who will thus be the ones to benefit from the trend.

Considering all the trends, the number of chefs should grow significantly over the next few years.

Job Seekers: 94,611
Job Openings: 77,626

Job prospects for this career are rated Limited

Last Updated: May 11, 2012