New IGD report turns lens on labour shortage challenges and solutions

Date : 05 October 2021

Today, IGD publishes Viewpoint Special Edition: Focus on Labour Shortages, a special report examining the labour pressures facing the food and consumer goods industry, in the face of widespread workforce shortages, recruitment challenges and increased competition for people.

EU Exit and COVID-19 have disrupted the stable employment situation of the last decade, and as the economy continues on the road to recovery, the emerging labour challenges show the need for action. IGD strives to make a positive difference to society by working in partnership with the food and consumer goods industry to address the economic, social and environmental issues that matter to us all, and this report explores why the industry can expect the labour pool to continue to shrink, as well as the solutions businesses can take to protect themselves.

Naomi Kissman, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director at IGD, said: “The food and consumer goods industry plays a vital role in feeding the nation and must accelerate efforts to build a workforce fit for the future. We have spoken to senior stakeholders at a range of major retailers, manufacturers and foodservice companies, as well as other organisations IGD works alongside. This insight, combined with research and forecasts, has shaped our view on how to avoid future labour shortages.

“In the short term, there is a lot organisations can do to mitigate some of the challenges. Businesses are already taking action to attract and retain people, such as investing in enhanced benefits and offering more flexible working. In the long term, the industry needs to invest more in planning for challenges and developing skills, to enable people, organisations and the industry to thrive.”

Although some of the current challenges relate to a shortage of highly trained workers such as HGV drivers, industry leaders suggest most immediate issues relate to not having enough people to do the work. Looking ahead, evolution of the food and consumer goods supply chain is expected to mean more demand for highly skilled workers, especially in connection with digital technology and sustainability.

The food and consumer goods industry has a huge opportunity to develop these skills, with 4.1 million people working in the industry. To date, IGD’s programmes of work have helped more than 65,000 young people develop vital employability skills and have a better understanding of the opportunities available in our industry. Additionally, IGD has developed the skills and capability of 3,500 people from 650 companies through free learning programmes and is further supporting businesses to create inclusive workplaces.

IGD’s Viewpoint Special Edition: Focus on Labour Shortages is free to download at igd.com. Sign up to receive IGD’s Economics Bulletin, providing economic and political news for the food and consumer goods industry.

For media enquiries and interview opportunities please contact Sarah Burns on [email protected] or 07483 094027.