This Briefing Paper provides a detailed overview on jobs and labour markets in the UK food sector and focuses on food manufacturing. It identifies recent and longer-standing labour market trends that impact the UK workforce more generally but finds that in food manufacturing some of these are more pronounced. It also shows how the sector is being squeezed by the twin challenges of a potential labour shortage if the supply of EU migrants dries up after Brexit and the need to recruit up to 140,000 new workers by 2024.
The authors recommend a new collaborative approach that takes into account local and regional employment needs which encompasses smaller and medium-sized companies, that comprise the majority of food businesses and develops workers with the skills to innovate for a more sustainable and healthier food supply.
The report was first presented in a joint FRC/Sustain roundtable on food, jobs and work, held on 20 April 2016.