5 Secrets Why Hotel Chefs Leave Jobs in Norway

Norway has been experiencing increased hotel staff turnover in recent years. Qualified chefs are in high demand. However, they tend to leave because of an unsatisfactory working environment, lack of feedback, low potential for creative challenges, and tasks outside their job requirements.

December 20, 2022. Career cushioning is in full force in Europe—32% of employees are looking for alternative placements, and 25% of them are prompted to switch employers because of job dissatisfaction. The hospitality industry is also suffering from increased employee turnover, with nearly 6% of staff leaving jobs every month—the number of hospitality job vacancies increased by 83% compared to the numbers in 2019.

When it comes to the hotel industry in Norway, the numbers have been equally dire in recent years. After severely restricting the hospitality business during the pandemic, many employees changed careers, leaving the industry for good.

“The numbers of hospitality candidates have dropped significantly, and hotels face difficulties attracting new hires. At the same time, employee salary expectations have increased by up to 30% due to inflation, so the remaining staff is way pickier about its employers,” Diana Blažaitienė, a remote work expert and founder of Soprana Personnel International, a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency, said.

Top 5 reasons hotel chefs leave their jobs

1. Unsatisfactory working environment

Around 35% of hotel chefs seek other employment if they feel their working environment is no longer satisfactory, and there’s a lack of empathetic management and performance reviews. Many also have feelings of injustice over workload, pay, and clashing work expectations.

“Managers tend to skip on giving honest feedback to chefs, and sometimes people do not know whether they are doing a good job. Which is why it is important for team leaders to organize regular meetings to air out frustrations and be on the same page regarding work and personal development,” the expert maintained.

2. Better offers from rivals

According to Ms. Blažaitienė, 30% of hotel staff in Norway leave having received a better financial offer from other companies. Since the fight for talent continues in many industries, talented chefs get several new offers each week. Therefore, they have the choice of going with the best fit for them.

However, the expert advises chefs who want to leave earlier than stipulated in their work contract that they are running the risk of damaging their reputation—non-compliance with previous agreements with their employer might be frowned upon by other potential companies.

3.Discrepancy of expectations

Around 15% of Norwegian hotel chefs leave their jobs because their expectations of the hotel cuisine, ingredients, and the nature of tasks differ from that of the management. Also, both the chefs and the management have to be on the same page in terms of products, meals, ambiance, etc., to create a satisfactory working environment, Ms. Blažaitienė adds.

“Monotonous recipes and limited creative outlets at work are another reason chefs start looking for other options. They do not feel they are improving their skills and seek creative challenges elsewhere,” she said. “Qualified chefs also have high expectations for ingredient quality and quantity, as well as waste management—all of this adds to their growing disappointment with their employer.”

4. Unfulfilling living conditions

The accommodation which is in unsatisfactory condition, far removed from the workplace, or frequently changed by the management makes 15% of chefs reconsider their employment in Norwegian hotels. Many hotels in Northern Norway find it difficult to attract new talents because people find them too remote and hard to access.

“When hiring a new chef, management should always tell them in detail about the accommodation offered and the site so that the new hire wouldn’t feel they have been misled in any way,” Ms. Blažaitienė commented.

5. Additional tasks

“Additional tasks like serving food, helping with the guests’ luggage, and having to go outside to serve food are frequently in practice in smaller Norwegian establishments. However, 5% of chefs believe additional work outside their position requirements would prompt them to quit their jobs,” the expert said.

What makes chefs stay in Norway

Ms. Blažaitienė lists conditions that persuade hotel chefs to stay in their current jobs: long-term work, ensured minimum workload or pay, clearly defined work conditions, provided accommodation and meals, and in some cases—a vehicle, regular teambuilding, and personnel qualification improvement sessions, and good environment within personnel teams.

At the same time, HR specialists report that new talents are motivated to pursue culinary careers in the Norwegian hospitality industry by the potential to diversify their professional experience and learn about new cuisines, a competitive edge against other candidates—chefs who have experience in Scandinavian countries are highly in demand by employers, healthy work-life balance, and numerous opportunities to enjoy leisure time activities across Norway.

“Working in the Norwegian hospitality industry offers the chance to learn the language faster, and the linguistic skills may be easily applied in other Scandinavian countries. Norway is also a good country to relocate with families because of social benefits, child care support, etc. Finally, there’s always a shortage of qualified staff as Norway has one of the leading economies in Scandinavia but has a relatively low population,” the expert concluded.


Soprana Personnel International provides Scandinavian technical and administrative personnel recruitment services offshore and onshore in different career fields.  The company specializes in the selection of managers and specialists, fast help in finding new personnel, and assurance of candidates flow for companies.

For more information, visit https://www.soprana.no/en