Coupled with a report which found that three-quarters of Food and Drink Federation (FDF) members have said that ingredient prices have risen and product margins decreased, food manufacturing is a sector which requires some TLC.
In the UK, the food and drink manufacturing sector employs in excess of 117,000 EU workers, employing 400,000 workers in total. As the largest manufacturing sector in the country, it generates over £100 billion for the economy each year.
By 2024, it’s estimated that 140,000 recruits will be required in order to meet market demand. Therefore, it’s imperative that not only does the food industry position itself as an attractive industry to work in to new recruits, but that current employees do not up sticks and leave the industry altogether.
From the FDF survey, whose members include big names such as Coca-Cola and Mr Kipling, 69.5% said that they were less confident about the UK business environment, and 71% of companies who employ EU workers said they were concerned about the Brexit result.
However, despite this, labour turnover in the manufacturing industry is now 12%, compared to 17% the previous year. Whether this is due to workers becoming fearful of job-hopping due to Brexit, or because businesses are keen to hold on to workers in order to keep up with demands and benefit from the weaker pound which has resulted in increased exports, is highly debated.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that regardless of Brexit or not, the food sector needs to ensure that it retains employees if it is to meet up with current and future demand and continue to reduce its labour turnover rate.
Below are the issues facing the industry and how staff engagement could hold the answer to ensuring that employees stay with the organisation.