Bridging the Skills Gap

Developing talent across the food and grocery industry


Key findings

  • The idea that our industry isn’t attractive to young people is a myth, but there is an awareness issue. Interactions between students and employers is a highly effective model to address this.
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths-based roles are hard for our industry to recruit. However, a talent pipeline is developing, with almost one in ten Year 12 students surveyed citing engineering as a dream role. Actively working to connect with this group will be key to effectively bridging this skills gap.
  • The most important factors for Year 12 students during their job search are: ‘work/life balance’, ‘promotion opportunities’, ‘on-the-job training’ and ‘company values’, just ahead of ‘salary’.
  • Interactions with employers not only have a positive effect on the attractiveness of the industry, but have also been a key driver in attracting young recruits into our businesses.
  • Finding talent with a strong entrepreneurial mindset, resilience and analytical skills is particularly challenging. Our research identifies the skills and behaviours that play a key role in developing a strong and effective workforce, both now and in the future.
  • Many companies recognise the increasing role of technology and the growing importance of having a tech-savvy workforce. However, the meaning of ‘digital skills’ and the actual requirements vary widely from one business to another. Young, tech-savvy people do not necessarily have the full repertoire of skills required by employers. 

Students talking to professionals


Potential solutions

  • Our industry has a lot to offer potential new recruits and is attractive, but awareness is key. Face-to-face interactions with employers are an effective way of increasing awareness and attraction and there is an appetite for more of these activities in school. We need to create scale to make a real impact and prioritise short interactions and work experience.
  • There is also an opportunity to build teachers’ understanding of our industry and the skills we value to further support students in their career decisions.

Engineering recruitment 2

Engineering dream job

  • The greatest challenges for recruitment lie in STEM-related roles. We need to create specific activities targeted at these roles to encourage talent to join our industry.
  • Employers should recognise what motivates young people joining the world of work, and ensure these aspects are communicated effectively across all channels. Young recruits, particularly, can be highly effective ambassadors for their companies.
  • Embedding skills training and having the right development culture and mindset are important. In addition, businesses looking to develop a tech-savvy workforce will need people who frequently use a wide variety of current and new technologies and are eager to learn.

Career development in the grocery industry 2


IGD Bridging the Skills Gap research

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