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Wages and Outlook

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
There was a request in another thread for an article on food service professional/worker wages. The links below are not to an article but to The US Dept of Labor site which gives numbers, estimates, summaries and projections on all industries in The USA. Information on employment numbers and wages can be broken down for comparisons based on US national averages as well as within state, regions, cities and towns. for comparison sake I generally like to go to the source rather than being spoon-fed numbers through someone else's filter - maybe some of you are the same way. However, if the article is available I'd definitely be interested in reading it.

If you're doing a search for Chefs in particular you'd use 35-1011, for searching the general food preparation and serving related occupations use 35-0000 (each occupation has its own code). When you're looking at numbers that list all industries you'll probably be able to scroll down to the middle of the page and find the food industry (series 35-0000 - chefs et al).

You can search around for yourself and create custom charts (if you're interested for some reason) - a good page to start on might be:

Here are some other links I came up with from the within the site if you're not into searching around the site:
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations May 2004 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2004 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2004 Metropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2004 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
post #2 of 7
All of that data should be required reading for potential culinary students.

I wonder how it compares with similar statistics from our European colleagues?
post #3 of 7
What we have here is a "Which came first, chicken or egg? problem that is peculiar to N. America.

Cooking is not a regulated trade in N.America, heck it isn't recognized AS a trade. Plumbers, electricians, doctors, lawyers, etc. are all regulated trades/professions, and have some kind of Gov't regulated certification. A plumber will quote you on a hot water tank job using trade figures, if he doesn't follow the trade guidelines for labour/hr, he will suffer the wrath of his trade, ditto for lawyers and doctors. All recognized trades have benchmarks: journeyman's paper's, degrees, passing the bar. But for our profession, the second oldest profession in the world? Not on this continent I'm afraid. We have no benchmarks for cooks or chefs, therefore there is no curriculum to meet these benchmarks, so it's every culinary school for itself, and therefore different standards for graduates of different schools. Many schools do not place much emphasis on working experience, which is a big part of apprenticeships or journeyman's tickets. What you've got is "Forrest Gump's box of chocolates" : You never know what you're going to get, and the employers pay accordingly. Heck we can't even agree on what a "Chef" means, what a "Cook" means, or how to best achieve these titles.

Now in Europe it's a bit different. In the "old days" the guilds reigned supreme, they set the standards for respective trades, set wages, got comfy and close with the Kings, Despots and rulers, and got laws made to protect their guilds. It does sound kinda familiar doesn't it?....
A spin-off of the guilds was the apprenticeship system. Completing an apprenticeship was a benchmark, and got the worker a guaranteed wage. Apprenticeships are for the most part still today overseen and regulated by the respective federal Gov'ts of European countries, thus having benchmarks for professions, a cohesive curriculum to attain that benchmark, (emphasis on cohesive) and a resulting regulated wage based on the miminum requirement of meeting that benchmark.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 7
thanks for the heads up.
post #5 of 7
Hey, can you point me to the people that were used as part of the data?

I need a plumber right now and I'd like to find one that works for $20 like they say.

I also need my piano tuned, and $14 per hour would be nice too, better than the $75 I'm used to paying.

so there is a grain of coarse grey hand-harvested sea salt with that.

I would say some of it is accurate though.
post #6 of 7
Anything more recent?
2004 was a loooong time ago.
Minimum wage has gone up in Cali since then.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
According to the overview ( Overview ) the data is collected from industry but not from self-employed individuals. So these numbers are based on what industry employers are paying their folks and not what your local contractor would charge. Besides, does anyone really believe that a local contractor is reporting his/her actual net income to Uncle Sam?

According to the overview the latest wage estimates (May '06) are based on numbers taken every 6 months which are "adjusted" up/down to the May 2006 (the most recent) numbers. Guessing here (so please don't hang me for it) but it looks like they collect data every 6 months and prepare the report every two years - if that's true we should be getting a new report in May of '08.

[*nodding in agreement*]
It is amazing to me that we are not properly protected by an industry that has the potential to impact so many people on a daily basis. In PA the requirement is that one supervisory employee per establishment is certified in food safety and sanitation (but they don't have to be on the premises at all hours) - I'm sure that most (all?) US states have similar laws. I've seen courses where you can take the course and exam at home & if you get 60 of 80 questions correct you pass. It is a start but doesn't inspire much confidence. The current system is driven by artificial threats of inflated costs that would hurt business - I'd say that it is driven by greed, laziness and a lack of foresight.

Rivitman - I'd also like to see some numbers out of Europe.
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