Baker Job Information

A baker job may not sound like the road to riches, but it can be. Some of the world's most successful retail franchises are bakeries. 

The Work Environment

Bakers are trained professionals. They undergo apprenticeships, and are trained systematically in each part of the trade, from making the products to cookery and baking techniques, including:

  • Pastries
  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Crispbreads
  • Sweet pastries
  • Custom products, like in-house specialties

The baker's job may be retail bakery, or industrial bakery, which are quite different workplaces. 

Retail Bakers

The retail baker's work environment is usually a small shop workplace. The work involves:

  • Production work
  • Retail sales
  • Customer relations

Industrial Bakers

Industrial bakery operations can be huge workplaces, employing large numbers of people, and involving a range of different forms of production, special jobs, and in some cases special training and qualifications.

The bakery work in these facilities includes:

  • Production line systems: Employees are still bakers, but they're also systems operators to a large extent. 
  • Packaging and handling: This is on-site work, largely automated, but involving physical movement and handling for distribution purposes. 
  • Quality control: Products are monitored for quality and any related production issues.

Modern production is reducing the numbers of people directly employed in bakery, but expanding the range of products. Distribution and production design methods have also produced "niche" areas of employment for bakers in some product ranges by creating streams for production, like dedicated cake or biscuit production facilities, etc. 

Wages: Hourly scales, $8 to $20 per hour depending on qualifications, experience, employer, and market area.

Hours: Shift work for industrial bakers. Retail bakers usually start early and finish on business hours. 

The Career Environment

Bakers, as tradespeople, have very portable skills which can create a range of career opportunities. They can transfer between retail and industrial forms of employment and careers on various levels. 

Industrial bakers can have excellent careers in their stream, and some bakers are also "researchers" in terms of creating new industrial products. Many recipe books produced by major manufacturers are in fact the products of their own in house bakeries, or chef level baker-consultants, professional chefs specializing in the product ranges.

The career environment for bakers is actually a business environment, in many ways. Retail bakers have real commercial potential, seen in practically every shopping mall and shopping strip in the world. Major franchises can be extremely valuable businesses. A retail baker can start a career earning $9 an hour and wind up owning a franchise business worth $1 million or so.

Bakers can literally create their own viable businesses. Even the basic non-franchise "baker shop" is usually a successful low-end business. Independent bakery businesses are common around the world, even in major corporate-dominated markets like the US. Bakery is one of the oldest forms of mass production, and the profit margins in real terms can be excellent. $1 wholesale worth of bread mix can produce $10 in retail sales. Compared to normal margins on retail sales, this is a far better return than a grocery or other food sales business. Overheads are relatively low, with shop rental the only real major expense. 

Many of the current bakery franchises, some worth billions, started as independent bakers. A bakery can be a truly successful venture, both in business and employment terms.