Dec 7th, 2017
5 mins

5 steps to addressing the skills shortage in the food & drink sector

Dan Plimmer, lead consultant for FMCG at Jonathan Lee Recruitment, highlights key areas the sector needs to address if it is to tackle the current skills shortage.

According to the BBC, the skills shortage in UK food and drink manufacturing shows no sign of slowing down[1]. While engineers, technical, operations, supply chain and logistics specialists in short supply, there are positive steps a business can take to secure the best talent in this competitive market.

  1. Look at your existing workforce

In the scramble to recruit new staff, it is easy to overlook the skill-sets within the existing workforce. Carrying out an organisational skills audit can highlight home-grown specialists and where training could future-proof your business. For example, increased automation and adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution concepts will lead the way to a new landscape of skills and jobs. With the right planning and a pro-development culture, employees could seize the opportunity to move into fulfilling new, previously non-existent jobs, while allowing the business to move forward.

  1. Move swiftly

It is crucial for businesses to make decisions swiftly, especially when promising candidates present themselves. If a client hasn’t moved within 36 hours, then it’s likely that the candidate will have been snapped up elsewhere.

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  1. Consider transferable skills

Employers usually want a candidate with sector experience – by its nature the engineering industry has always taken this specialist approach, but there is definitely a crossover between sectors that employers could use to their advantage more frequently, particularly within advanced mechatronics, digital programming and ‘big data’ analysis. This approach has already seen success in other industries, such as automotive, which has thrived over the past few decades.

  1. Think diverse

Recruiting people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including SME, blue chip and corporate, will lend itself to a diverse range of skills, mind-sets, approaches and fresh ideas. Indeed, hiring just one person with an alternative way of tackling an issue can potentially have a profound impact on an organisation’s strategy, systems, processes or culture – transforming a business for the better.

  1. Speak to an expert

Finding, attracting and retaining the right candidates in a competitive market is where the expertise of a specialist recruitment provider can really add value. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to talent acquisition and working with an expert consultant that really understands the specific needs of each individual company can offer significant process and time efficiencies. A technical consultant will also be able to offer clear and realistic market insight and competitor intelligence, whilst having access to the best networks and job boards to find the best available talent.


Get in touch with Dan Plimmer to discuss further, 01384 446174,




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