What Skills Are in Demand in Food Processing?
The number of jobs in food processing is set to rise in the coming years. A 2018 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute forecasts that almost 5 million manufacturing jobs will be added by 2028. However, this doesn’t stop people in the industry being concerned about the future of their jobs as advances in technology continue to increase automation in the workplace. So, what skills will help to future-proof your job in food processing?
1. Mechanical Engineering
Advanced manufacturing processes are improving how the food processing industry works, and engineering jobs in food processing are increasing in complexity. Engineers in the modern factory will need to adapt to new working practices and new mechanical designs to ensure equipment is maintained effectively and downtime is minimized.
2. IT Skills
As the industry enters the digital age, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is aiding food processing companies to operate more efficiently. Data can be collected from every part of operations, and machines can communicate with each other. The ability to analyze this data and develop applications that will interface with suppliers and customers to aid production and productivity is becoming increasingly highly valued.
3. Health and Safety
Safety of people working in the industry and safety of foods processed is key to profitable operations. While the health and safety within food manufacturing plants is the concern of all, it’s likely that specialists will be in greater demand. As well as knowledge of health and safety at work will be a skill in demand, we’re also finding that skills in scientific testing and training and coaching are desired.
4. Environmental Issues
Environmental issues are among the biggest issues facing the food processing industry. These range from a change in the way in which food processing companies source and use energy to plant design, waste control, production methods and packaging. People with ‘green’ skills can help to ensure that their employers develop sustainable business processes in an environmentally conscious society.
Great communication skills are needed in all jobs in food processing, whether your job is customer facing, dealing with suppliers, or supervising staff. Masters of modern communication technologies are in demand, and managers and leaders need high-level interpersonal skills to navigate the challenges of a multi-generational and multicultural workforce.
Jobs in Food Processing for All Levels
There are many opportunities in jobs in food processing, from entry level to management. At entry level, lower skill sets are acceptable. You’ll learn on the job from those around you and via formal training programs. Many of today’s senior executives started their careers in food processing in this way. As you become more skilled and add to your abilities, gaining professional qualifications, you become eligible for skilled technical roles that support the business.
Experience in such roles is likely to improve your interpersonal skills, and this will help you progress further in your career. Those with good communication skills, a keen eye for detail, a passion for health and safety, and other skills that may be technical in nature will be focusing on mid- to senior management roles. There are jobs in food processing to suit all levels of experience and skill. Because of the shortage of labor within the economy, we’re finding that hiring companies are increasingly willing to look beyond specific food industry experience and consider talented candidates from other sectors.