Employment for Chefs Drops for Two Consecutive Years; Chef’s Wages Beat Average National Wage
Employment for Chefs and Head Cooks has dropped for two consecutive years, according to the latest data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 128,600 chefs and head cooks in the US in 2018, down by 4.3% from its peak level two years ago.
Job losses were not evenly distributed geographically. New York (-1,390), Texas (-1,250), Michigan (-710), Tennessee (–640) and South Carolina (-500) suffered the largest year-on-year decline in jobs for chefs and head cooks.
In contrast, Florida (+2,380), California (+1,070), Wisconsin (+400) and Connecticut (+400), have seen huge gains in the number of chefs and head cooks.
While the numbers of chefs overall has decreased, the number of cooks has continued to grow to an all-time high of 2.4M. This may indicate a continued growth of restaurants and eateries, but concentrated in the lower-end of the market where chefs and head cooks are rarely employed.
Average Salary for Chefs and Head Cooks at an All-Time High
While the number of chefs and head cooks dropped, their salaries have appreciated significantly. Chefs and head cooks earned on average $52,160 in 2018, beating the average national wage in the US ($51,960).
Pay Gap between Cooks and Chefs/Head Cooks Continues To Widen
If cooks are still in any doubt about whether promotion is worthwhile, our data shows that it can almost double their earnings.
The growing pay gap between bosses and workers has not sidestepped the restaurant industry. In 2018, on average head cooks and chefs earned almost twice as much as their subordinates. The gap in pay is widening year after year and there is little reason to believe it will stop anytime soon.
Best States for Chefs and Head Cooks – Hawaii, West Virginia, Mississippi, Nevada and New Jersey
Hawaii continues to be the best-paying state for chefs and head cooks. Chefs in Hawaii can expect to earn on average $74,510 per year, 43% more than the national average. Garden State chefs come in second with $70,260 per year followed by those in Washington D.C, Delaware, and Connecticut.
When we compared wages earned by chefs to the average state wage, Hawaii came on top again. Chefs and head cooks earn 41% more than the average Hawaiian. West Virginia came second with a wage difference of 29%, while Mississippi came in third.
Best Paying Metros for Chefs and Head Cooks
On a metro level, with a whopping $83,250 per year, Urban Honolulu is the top paying metro in the nation. It is followed by Florida’s Sebastian-Vero Beach ($75,450), Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($75,430), Cape Coral – Fort Myers, FL and ($71,940), and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA ($68,180).