Accommodation and Food Services Workers in focus

Modified on Mon, 03 Feb 2020 at 10:25 AM

The accommodation and food services industry employs approximately 923,700 persons (ABS trend data), which accounts for 7.1 per cent of the total workforce. Over the past five years, employment in the industry has increased by 15.9 per cent. The median age for workers in this industry is 26 years and median weekly earnings are around $500 per week. This industry has a high number of work-related injuries and illnesses.

  • In 2014–15, the industry had an incidence rate of 7.9 injuries and diseases per 1,000 workers, which was 25% lower than the rate for the Australian workforce.

View the Accommodation and food services: Priority industry snapshot here for an overview of the industry and its WHS performance.

A young workforce

The accommodation and food services industry has the highest proportion of workers (43%) aged 15–24 years.

This is significantly higher than any other industry—retail is the next highest with 32%—and almost three times higher than the proportion for the Australian workforce.

Highest proportion of part-time workers

The industry has the highest proportion of part-time workers (people who usually work less than 35 hours per week) in Australia.

  • In 2012–13, 58% of workers in the industry worked part time, which is higher than any other industry and almost twice as high as the proportion of part-time workers in the Australian workforce.

Injuries and illnesses

Between 2010–11 and 2012–13:

  • Body stressing led to the highest proportion (32%) of serious claims in the industry. Nearly half (48%) of all body stressing disorders arose from muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects.
  • The bodily location most commonly affected by injuries and diseases that led to serious claims was the hand, fingers and thumb, which accounted for 22% of serious claims.
  • The median time lost from work for a serious claim was four weeks.
  • The median payment for a serious claim was $4,700.  

View serious claims statistics in accommodation and food services industry on the Safe Work Australia site here. And learn about accident and sickness solutions designed to protect accommodation and food services industry workers here

Source: Safe Work Australia -  

Employment Characteristics


Employment Level - August 2019 ('000)


Employment Growth - Five years to August 2019 ('000)


Employment Growth - Five Years to August 2019 (%)


Male Share of Employment - Year to August 2019 (%)


Female Share of Employment - Year to August 2019 (%)


Full Time Share of Employment - Year to August 2019 (%)


Average Full Time Hours - August 2019


Median Weekly Earnings in Main Job - August 2018 ($)


Projected Employment Growth - Five Years to May 2023 ('000)


Projected Employment Growth - Five Years to May 2023 (%)


Sources: ABS, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003, trend. Average full time hours data is Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business trend; Earnings data are ABS, Characteristics of Employment Cat. No. 6333.0, August 2018; Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, 2018 employment projections, five years to May 2023.

Top 10 Occupations Data

Top 10 Occupations

(For more information, select an occupation below)

Number Employed

(four quarter average, 2018)

WaitersOpens a new window


KitchenhandsOpens a new window


Bar Attendants and BaristasOpens a new window


ChefsOpens a new window


Sales Assistants (General)Opens a new window


Cafe and Restaurant ManagersOpens a new window


Fast Food CooksOpens a new window


Retail ManagersOpens a new window


CooksOpens a new window


Cafe WorkersOpens a new window


Source: Four quarter average and custom data based on ABS Labour Force, Australia, Cat no: 6291.0.55.003.

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