What Candidates Want: The Talent Market In Food & Beverage Manufacturing

The fast-changing food and beverage sector means that a huge range of manufacturing roles are in demand, from project managers to electrical engineers, control systems engineers to process engineers, and from electrical technicians to quality control specialists and new product developers.

The manufacturing industry needs new skills to drive the sector forward because of the spread of automation, digitization, and robotics. But competition for talent is fierce and many firms are struggling to secure the engineering talent they need. 

More than a third of STEM employers now require increased specialization and skills.

In addition, niche roles are needed to fuel R&D - a key priority for food and beverage brands as it can help to create new and improved products, increase speed to market, and boost the use of sustainable ingredients and waste reduction. These roles include food technologists and scientists, who work to improve the process of making, preserving and storing food and beverage products, as well as carrying out the research and analysis of the chemical, physical, and nutritional aspects of food.

These roles are becoming more critical for companies because consumer tastes are changing and demand for sustainable and healthier goods is rising. The pressure really is on to source the best talent in these more specialized jobs - to give manufacturers the edge they need.

Meanwhile, project managers are also in high demand as organizations look to maximize their budget and time while staying on track with spending, schedules, and resources. The Project Management Institute projects there will be demand for nearly 88 million project manager-oriented roles worldwide by 2027.15 These candidates have excellent communication, organization, and critical thinking skills, enabling them to stay in frequent contact with many stakeholders. 

Top priorities of STEM employers:

Roles STEM companies want to fill:

To attract these highly qualified people, employers will have to think hard about the pay and benefits they offer, from higher salaries to flexible working.

A 2021 survey by our parent company, SThree, looked into the priorities of 115 employers in the STEM arena.16 

39% of companies felt their talent requirements had changed in the previous 6-12 months and required increased specialization and skills. 

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About Progressive Recruitment

Progressive supports businesses across the power and utilities, renewable energy, manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors by providing comprehensive staffing solutions that add value. We specialize in talent across engineering, construction, and project management. We secured 1,100 placements across contract and permanent hires in 2021. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Progressive has grown market share and generated over $75m in revenue in 2021.

Progressive is part of Specialist Staffing Group, the only global pure-play STEM specialist recruitment company. For seven years in a row, Progressive has made the Staffing Industry Analysts' (SIA) list of the largest engineering staffing firms in the U.S. - ranking number 13 in the most recently published list.