The latest datasets from the 2016 Census released on 23 October show the accommodation and food services sector now accounts for 738,231 positions or 6.9 per cent of Australia’s total working population.

Of these positions, there were 80,723 chefs compared to 57,613 recorded in the 2011 Census, representing growth of more than 40 percent. The data also showed 23 percent growth in the number of baristas and bar attendants compared to 2011.

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Juliana Payne said that the sector’s employment figures were commensurate with the growth of the hospitality industry as a whole, accounting for new businesses entering the market and existing businesses expanding their operations.

“Today’s 2016 Census employment data is yet more proof of the enormous growth the hospitality sector has experienced over the last several years, with chefs being one of the largest growth occupations across the entire Australian workforce.

“What’s more is that the hospitality sector’s employment growth is showing no signs of slowing down. We know that the café, restaurant and takeaway food sector alone is expected to generate 84,100 new jobs by May 2022.”

Payne also commented on the need to ensure that the hospitality sector’s employment growth was accompanied by appropriate policy settings at all levels of government.

“What we’ve consistently seen across the industry is that hospitality employers are desperately seeking both skilled and unskilled workers to fill the labour gaps they need to operate their businesses effectively,” says Payne.

“Crucially, the Australian labour force simply can’t keep up with the growth in key hospitality sector occupations so there’s an imperative for governments at all levels to put in place the right policy settings to compensate for this.

“Without appropriate policy settings in place, the hospitality sector may very well fall victim to its own success.”

Image: Catch Training

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