Almost one in three recruiting managers in the food and grocery industry said food production roles were the hardest to fill, IGD said. The think-tank’s chief executive urged youngsters to explore future careers in the food and drink manufacturing sector.
“As well as being the biggest private sector employer, with 3.9M employees, food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, worth £96bn – more than vehicle production and aerospace combined – and offers incredible opportunities for young people,” said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.
“We can see that young people do find the food and grocery industry attractive, however there is an awareness issue – young people aren’t considering the industry simply because they do not know enough about it, which presents a clear opportunity for the industry to raise its profile to the next generation.
“This is even more evident when we look at what motivates young people into the world of work, with our research identifying work/life balance, promotion opportunities, training and company values as ranking higher than salary.”
Engineering roles in the food and grocery industry were the hardest to fill, according to 48% of recruiting managers. Jobs that needed specialist technology skills – including food technology and developing robotic solutions – were the second most difficult to recruit for (42%).
But, 75% of secondary school students want to learn more about jobs through work experience, the research revealed. About two-thirds of the students (63%) wanted more opportunities to interact with employers face-to-face.
Want to learn more about jobs
The more students learn about the industry, the more likely they were to forge a career in the sector, IGD said. Before attending the think-tank’s student workshop – Feeding Britain’s Future – 43% of students said they would consider a career in the industry. After the workshop, where students met industry professionals and learnt about employability skills, 73% said they would consider the sector.
Of food and grocery industry new starters, 89% agreed that the opportunities for career development were one of the main reasons for entering the sector.
Denney-Finch said: “This research highlights how important our learning programmes are for the future of our industry, and I’m passionate about increasing the impact of our training so even more young people learn about the exciting opportunities our industry has to offer.
“Through IGD’s learning programmes we aim to develop people throughout their careers, which starts with informing and inspiring school children about the world of work, equipping people to get started and upskilling them throughout their career.”
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