Food and drink companies will be looking to fill over 5,000 graduate vacancies in the next 12 months according to a survey of businesses exhibiting at the International Food Event (IFE).
With over 1,200 exhibitors, IFE is one of the UK’s largest food and drink events. The research reveals that 44% of the exhibitors questioned plan to recruit between one to five graduates in the year ahead with 11% recruiting up to 20 new staff.
The survey conducted by food and drink PR and communications specialist Pelican Communications during IFE (19-22 March), also reveals that an overwhelming 78% of respondents felt that young people can bring a wealth of new skills to a business, particularly in the area of technology and modern communications skills.
However, only 37.5% said that college and university graduates have the necessary skills to help a business when they first begin work. Whilst over 60% of companies believe their skills still need considerable development to work in the industry. Despite this, only one-third of companies survey offer graduate training schemes.
According to the Food and Drink Federation the industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and needs around 170,300 new recruits by 2020 to help it meet growing demand.
Commenting on the results, Food PR company Pelican Communications managing director, Michael Bennett said: “With so many companies looking to recruit there is real competition for talent, however too few appear to be making the effort to put in place the kind of development programmes that will attract and retain the best graduates.
“Whilst there are schemes in place, such as the £3m Industry Skills Partnership, it is primarily going to benefit the likes of Thorntons, Nestle, Premier Foods, Britvic, 2 Sisters and Arla who are backing the scheme. Smaller firms need to do more to attract talent.”
Pelican Communications are specialists in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.