The food and beverage manufacturing industry is vital in meeting the global demand for consumable products. However, this sector faces a significant challenge: a skills shortage. The shortage of skilled workers hinders business growth and innovation. We’ll discuss ways to manage and overcome this.

Understanding the Skills Shortage

Several factors contribute to the skills shortage in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. These include:

  • Aging Workforce
    A significant portion of the industry’s workforce is approaching retirement age, leading to a loss of experienced professionals with specialized knowledge.
  • Evolving Technologies
    Rapid advancements in automation, robotics, and digitalization require a workforce with advanced technical skills, which are currently in short supply.
  • Changing Workforce Demographics
    Younger generations are less interested in food and beverage manufacturing due to physical demands, lack of awareness, and preference for tech roles.
  • Lack of Training and Education
    Insufficient investment in training programs, limited availability of vocational courses, and a gap between industry requirements and educational curricula contribute to the skills shortage.

Strategies for Managing and Overcoming the Skills Shortage

  • Strengthening Workforce Development Programs
    Partnering with schools, associations, and governments can align training with industry needs. Offering apprenticeships and internships can build a skilled workforce.
  • Upskilling and Reskilling Existing Workforce
    Upskilling and reskilling programs for current employees can bridge the skills gap, keeping valuable expertise while ensuring the workforce can adapt to changing industry demands.
  • Leveraging Technology and Automation
    Advanced tech and automation can reduce labor reliance, but workforce development is crucial to avoid displacement and enable employees to work with technology.

Hiring an Outside Recruiting Firm

In addition to the abovementioned strategies, hiring an outside recruiting firm can be a viable solution to navigate the skills shortage. Here’s how it can help:

  • Access to a Wider Talent Pool Recruiting firms specialize in talent acquisition and have extensive networks and resources to tap into. They can identify qualified candidates with the necessary skills and experience, even if they are not actively seeking employment.
  • Expertise in Industry-Specific Recruitment External recruiting firms often have deep knowledge of the food and beverage manufacturing industry. They understand the required skill sets and industry trends and can efficiently match candidates with the right positions.
  • Time and Cost Efficiency Outsourcing recruitment to a specialized firm saves valuable time and resources. They handle candidate sourcing, screening, and initial evaluations, allowing internal teams to focus on core business operations.
  • Streamlined Hiring Process Recruiting firms streamline hiring by managing job postings, conducting interviews, and performing background checks. They ensure a smooth transition from candidate identification to onboarding, minimizing disruptions caused by prolonged vacancies.


The skills shortage in the food and beverage manufacturing industry requires a multifaceted approach to manage and overcome its challenges. Strengthening workforce development programs, upskilling existing employees, and leveraging technology are all effective strategies to address the issue. In addition, hiring an outside recruiting firm, like Sterling, can provide significant benefits in sourcing and attracting qualified talent. Sterling possesses industry-specific knowledge, extensive networks, and expertise in recruitment, allowing them to identify suitable candidates efficiently. Moreover, our services streamline the hiring process, saving time and resources for businesses. Learn more about the Sterling Advantage.

By combining these strategies, the food and beverage manufacturing industry can bridge the skills gap, build a robust workforce, and ensure long-term growth and sustainability. Collaboration between industry stakeholders, educational institutions, and recruiting firms will be crucial in developing a talent pipeline that meets the evolving needs of the industry.

Pamela O’Donnell Marketing Manager p: 630.993.3400


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