Food producers need to adapt to combat “critical” staffing shortages

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Food manufacturers need to adapt to a rapidly changing workforce if they are to win the “frantic” battle for workers.

Redwigwam, the UK’s largest flexible worker company, says that only by adopting new approaches can businesses expect to overcome staffing shortages that are at a “critical juncture”.

In order to assist employers, Redwigwam has produced a white paper entitled “Surviving Staffing Shortages: How businesses can overcome the perfect storm generated by Brexit and the Covid pandemic”.

Lorna Davidson, Redwigwam’s CEO, says: “While businesses adapt to a new normal as we exit the pandemic, it’s clear staff shortages are at a critical juncture and the UK job market faces one of its biggest challenges.

“With 1.9 million open positions, and a loss of potential job seekers due to Brexit, employers are finding it extremely difficult to fill positions without added incentives. Moving ahead, the recruitment process requires several potential changes in how recruiters conduct business and attract candidates.

“We know from our work in the food manufacturing sector the effect the double whammy of Brexit and the Covid pandemic has had on employers.”

EU workers are having to decide whether to apply for ‘Settled Status,’ or return home. This is making some roles harder to fill and is a particular issue in food manufacturing where EU workers make up large numbers of the workforce.

Lorna added: “The last eighteen months have been anything but predictable in the world of staffing. As we enter a new era of work, the ability to hire and maintain qualified staff has never been more frantic.

“The popularity and necessity of telework/home working/remote working, precipitated by isolating from co-workers to avoid the pandemic, has forced companies to rethink their own culture, policies, and expectations, building a strong case for a hybrid work model.

“In addition, workers are reconsidering their workload and are seeking a happy medium that builds a work-life balance they never had before.

“The conventional workplace atmosphere is drifting away from static and siloed positions are moving towards agile project-based, multi-functional work priorities. This forces employees to move towards new roles as businesses change.”

According to the white paper, sectors under the most severe strain are food production, along with retail, hospitality, cleaning, transport and warehousing.

With the Christmas season now in full swing, these pressures are reaching their most acute levels with businesses warning of supply chain challenges, potential shortages on the shelves and venues having to operate reduced opening hours.

The Redwigwam white paper says that workers now have a range of demands when considering job opportunities. They include improved pay and rewards, the need for greater flexibility, greater support in their personal lives, enabling them to achieve better work/life balance and increased skills training.

Redwigwam is a leading, multi-awarding winning temporary staffing booking platform in the UK, matching over 170,000 staff with flexible and temporary part time jobs.

The business is powered by an AI-driven technology solution, which enables employers to source, choose, book, vet, rate, and employ staff by the hour, the day or longer.

Redwigwam works with some of the biggest blue-chip companies in the UK, including Coca-Cola, Argos, Sodexo, Land Rover, Tesco and Kellogg’s.