The Chef Shortage – it’s not just in Australia
In recent news, we’ve heard a lot of talk about chef shortages in Sydney – but this isn’t just a problem for us Sydney folk. It’s an issue faced by every Western nation and so we’re competing with other countries for all the international talent out there.
A quick Google search for “chef shortage” and you can find dozens of articles from around the globe about the same issue. Here’s just a selection:
USA – Boston Magazine
Ireland– Irish Times
New Zealand– TV NZ
Canada – CBC Canada
The underlying theme in all these articles is that cooking isn’t really perceived by young people in developed nations as a career. It’s often a way to earn some money while studying at Uni or just a way to scrape through from week to week without a whole lot of pride in your work.
I’m not going to get into the argument about training: we all know we need TAFE to be the premier provider of quality education for apprentice chefs. And we know the salary isn’t that great. Young people these days are given an education that aspires for something better, though what they’ll probably be striving for are obsolete white-collar jobs.
What is most noticeable, however, when working with chefs from abroad, is that nearly all of them have chosen to be a chef as a career. In many countries, being a chef is considered to be a very high-quality career choice and a gateway to travel the world. I’m not just talking about developing countries; in nearly all of Europe, a chef is considered to be a solid career choice.
As employers, you need to realise that these guys have a lot of choice in where they work and the conditions they work under. If you aren’t providing good working conditions and reasonable hours (38 is too little but these days, 60 is not on) then you’ll lose your worker.
Integrating a new international chef into your business is also a crucial stage to get the most out of your employees. The induction process needs to be well structured and you need your existing chefs to be very aware of how it will work. Often, chefs have worked in kitchen brigades larger than what we’re used to in Australia, so bringing your international chef up to speed can take a few months.
Through one of our migration partners, Edupi Migration, we’ve assisted over 300 chefs to come to Australia. Our process is holistic: we undertake a rigorous interview process and checking of references, and we ensure that the person is going to fit into the proposed workplace. We take care of all of the on-boarding as well as the relocation tasks faced by fresh arrivals to the country. We help them with accommodation, setting up bank accounts and tax files, and introducing them to other chefs in their community – and to the workplace.
We work with our chefs and their employers over the first six months to make sure they’re fitting in. We’ll assist with resolving any issues that either party may be uncomfortable bringing up. All of this ensures that your chef performs at the highest level, with the peace of mind they’re being well looked after.