We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Butcher

BETATry an improved version of this page

  1. More about how to get into this career
  2. We've included current opportunities to help you with your next steps
Try it out

Butchers prepare and sell meat and poultry, and make meat products like sausages, burgers and pies.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,500 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 42 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually start as a trainee or assistant butcher and learn on the job.

Knowledge of the trade and previous experience in retail will help you to get a trainee job.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Some employers prefer you to have taken a 1-day food safety for retail, catering or manufacturing course, provided by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health or the Royal Society for Public Health.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • communication and customer service skills
  • practical skills to work with knives and machinery
  • maths skills for handling payments
  • the ability to work well in a team
  • in-depth knowledge of meat products
  • creativity to present and display meat

3. What you'll do

You'll work in a butcher's shop, or a market or supermarket. Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • buying, ordering, storing and controlling stock
  • receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene
  • moving meat stock to cold storage areas
  • creating product displays
  • cutting, boning and trimming meat
  • serving customers
  • advising customers on how to prepare and cook meat

You may also drive to markets, wholesalers and customers’ premises.

You could specialise in halal, kosher or organic foods, depending on the demands of the local community.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £16,500 to £22,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work about 40 hours a week, which may include early mornings and weekends, with time off during the week.

You'll spend much of the day preparing cuts of meat in the shop and serving customers.

The work can be physically demanding. You’ll usually work in cool conditions to keep the meat fresh. You may need to wear protective clothing or a uniform.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could work in larger and higher quality independent butchers’ shops, retail chains and supermarkets, or set up your own shop.

You may progress to supervisory or management roles in a supermarket or chain of shops.

You could also work at the Food Standards Agency, checking quality and standards in abattoirs and meat plants.

You could move into catering, meat manufacturing and wholesaling.

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 11 September 2018