Addressing the talent attraction issue might be easier than you think

Young people are not exploring careers in the food industry. It’s a problem! It’s not just a North American issue either, it’s one that employers are facing globally.

The industry has evolved over time, it’s not the same as it was–from the process to the equipment to the products, employers must share this with the world, reveal what’s going on behind the curtain.  Show people their secret recipes.  Times Up!

Let’s switch an interest in food (because everyone EATS) to pursuing education that will lead to a meaningful career in food & beverage!

Working together we can solve this problem.  Here’s how we can approach it;

  1. Share stories, celebrate the people and professions
  2. Educate on the abundance of options for career pathways
  3. Make it SUPER easy for people early in their career to connect to industry and apply to jobs!
  4. It takes a village – associations (stakeholders) come together to tackle the issue.

As the country’s fourth largest private-sector employer, the restaurant industry is already facing the ramifications of this reality on a massive scale. In the last five years alone, the number of unfilled positions in the food-service sector has risen from roughly 52,000 to nearly 60,000 and is projected to keep climbing Globe and Mail Article “ Shanna Monroe, Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is addressing the issue.  They know that a priority for their 30K+ valued members across Canada is talent attraction and retention.

They are partnering with FoodGrads (to be announced formally March 1-3 at the RC Show) .

Restaurants Canada plan to strengthen their connections with colleges and universities across Canada.  They are sponsoring the tools we’ve created for teachers and guidance counselors at the high-school and post-secondary level–viewing them as a massive step in the right direction. Through content sharing and student driven events, together we’ll face this issue head on!

Also, and perhaps MOST importantly Restaurants Canada are making it easy for their members to post job openings confidently, understanding that its not a generic job board they are utilizing, but a whole infrastructure dedicated to providing a talented, qualified and eager workforce.

Attracting, educating and supporting young people to explore careers in the food industry is the goal.

Something to Think About….

Young people can become Chefs and enjoy working in a restaurant (they could stay there forever!) .  But there are options down the road should they wish to pursue a different course.  For example, joining a food ingredients manufacturer as a corporate chef, working in retirement living or dining services.  These choices offer different working environments, hours and salaries.

Understanding their options long term is crucial for retention.

Showcasing people in the industry who have held a variety of positions, crossing over between food service and food processing, is going to open up minds and eyes to the magnitude of opportunities.

Education and expectation setting is paramount.  For example, the route for most food processing organizations is for people to start in entry level position, to learn the business, grasp food safety from the grass roots level, show work ethic, then be promoted in a variety of different directions in the organization depending on their skill set and career goals.

Experiential learning, coop and internships are an amazing way for young people to explore career paths.  Open your doors, invite curious young people into your plant/restaurant, give them a project, they might just solve one of your problems. I’ve seen this happen!

FoodGrads is developing significant partnerships (Food & Consumer Products of Canada , Food Processors of Canada) to bring food processors and manufacturers along on our mission, for the benefit of their members who are experiencing the same levels of dissatisfaction with talent attraction.

So, addressing the talent attraction issue might be easier than you think if we work together, share our stories, open our doors and show the next generation of food industry professionals what a career in the sector looks like now.

Nicole Gallace, Founder & Chief Messenger – FoodGrads

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