Skill shortages are rife around Australia with many industries feeling the pinch of new visa restrictions and millennial’s changing career ambitions.
However, no industry has been hit as significantly as the hospitality industry.
Qualified chefs, in particular Head Chefs, are becoming harder and harder to source, with the shortage more noticeable since the abolishment of the 457 visa earlier this year.
Australian restaurants and bars are expanding their networks in an attempt to find local talent. So where are all the good ol’ Aussie chefs?
Speculations from industry insiders reveal there could actually be a societal reason for the decreasing numbers. Some senior hospitality staff believe that reality shows like Masterchef are glamorising what life in the kitchen is really like, and apprentices are faced with a stark reality check when they first enter the kitchen.
And the numbers certainly don’t lie. Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows that the take-up rate of apprenticeships have decreased by 3% over the last year. A report by Deloitte predicts the industry will have a 123,000 worker shortfall by 2020.
The removal of the 457 visa was a major hit to the hospitality industry, as this sector employs the largest cohort of this visa type.
In an article written for OpenTable on the challenges facing the Australian restaurant industry, Sydney-based executive chef, Damien Pignolet, explains the current situation, “Today a head chef spends more time teaching (new hires), then the staff leave and the cycle starts all over again. The staffing issue will only become more demanding and with fewer apprentice cooks I cannot see an answer, other than sponsorship from overseas.”
So what should busy hospitality businesses do?
One possible solution is to invest in the staff you already have. It may no longer be possible to bring these international experts onto your books permanently, but you can definitely hire them on a short-term basis to impart their knowledge on your in-house team.
While they’re learning, why not hire a couple of extra hands in the kitchen to make sure you’re still delivering top quality service to your guests throughout the whole process.
Why not browse the 5-star chefs available for work now on the Sidekicker platform.