Unlocking talent in the food and drink industry


Unlocking talent in the food and drink industry

15 Oct 16:00 by


With such a broad spectrum of careers falling under the ‘food and drink’ umbrella, developing a coherent workforce capable of driving the industry forward is challenging, but essential, for future growth.

The UK food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the country. According to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the sector accounts for over 15% of the country’s total manufacturing sector by turnover and employs around 400,000 people. These employees perform a range of roles in a variety of areas, such as purchasing, finance, logistics, sales and marketing, catering and retail. Attracting, developing and retaining high quality employees to fill these roles is a critical part of any successful growth strategy.

Lead the way

Key to meeting the challenges facing the industry is a suitably skilled management team. One way to achieve this is through management training, not just in the technical requirements of their field, but in leadership.

Successful leaders can attract people to their cause and make their organisation a magnet for talent. While doing this, they encourage and assist in the development of those people, so they become better aligned to organisational strategy.

Introduce innovation

Food and drink is a fast-moving and ever-evolving industry, and the sector's future is dependent on the skills of its workforce. Identifying, recruiting and developing talented workers, therefore, is something everyone, including the government, is keen to encourage.

Food and drink manufacturing was chosen by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop new standards for apprenticeships, with the aim of making them more responsive to the needs of employers in the industry.

Another fruitful source of talented new recruits is recently qualified graduates. Graduates bring specialist knowledge into the industry and drive innovation. Typical roles for graduates include food technology, product development, quality assurance and research and development.

To progress in the food and drinks industry, graduates require a broad set of skills that encompass general abilities, such as a commercial insight and an understanding of consumer demand, as well as more specific expertise, such as food science, engineering and chemistry.

Embrace diversity

The food and drink sector is unusual in that its workforce is derived from such diverse sources. To hire the best candidates for every opening, it is necessary to be able to recruit from a wide variety of talent pools, ranging from school leavers with few if any qualifications to highly specialised postgraduates.

Women are a large, but regrettably underrepresented, group of potential talent. A recent article in HR Magazine states that, in the UK, women make up just 30% of food and drink manufacturing and only 7% of engineering professionals.

Parity Professionals take a proactive approach to seeking out, employing and retaining the best candidates from all corners of the recruitment market. As a result, we unlock the talent that will enable your organisation to flourish.