Turn a hobby into a career

A small boy in a chef's hat and white coat in a commercial kitchen, icing a cake with a piping bag.

This story was first published on Monday 8 October 2018. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

Wednesday 10 October is National Cake Decorators’ Day which seems as good an excuse as any to talk about cake.

Or, at least, what it’s like to work as a cake decorator and if it’s possible to turn a weekend cake-making hobby into a career.

Many Australians have a hobby that they dream about turning into a profession one day, including those who enjoy baking and decorating fancy cakes. With a mix of creative expression and practical hands-on work, many find it a rewarding—if challenging—pastime.

But should they give up their day job?

Cake Decorating is classified as a specialisation of pastrycook in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).The pastrycook profession has typically had shortages and—in 2017—the proportion of pastrycooks fell to its lowest since 2007.

Pastrycooks are in demand all across Australia, with only 39% of advertised vacancies filled in 2017. The shortage was even more dramatic in regional areas, where only 22% of pastrycook vacancies were filled.

Baker and Pastrycook jobs, according to Job Outlook, have experienced strong growth in the past five years and the growth is likely to continue.

But before taking the leap and applying to be a pastrycook, our weekend chefs may want to look into getting formal qualifications. More than half of applicants for pastrycook vacancies were deemed unsuitable by potential employers, in a recent recruitment survey by the Department of Jobs and Small Business, as they didn’t have their trade qualification. Only 36.2% of bakers and pastrycooks have a Certificate III or IV.

On top of this, employers said three quarters of applicants lacked experience, had inadequate technical skills or did not have the specialist skills necessary for the role.

So, it's probably worthwhile spending as much time as possible honing their skills--which means lots more practice cakes for the rest of us to sample!

Find out more about what it's like being a baker or pastrycook on Job Outlook, such as: 

  • Expected earnings and average hours
  • Prospects
  • Pathways
  • Skills & knowledge

Read more about the status of the profession of Pastrycook in Australia.

Find out about other occupational skills shortages.

Correct at time of publication.