8 minute read • published in partnership with Stäubli
White paper: People & productivity in UK food manufacturing
In recent years, many UK food manufacturers have relied heavily on EU nationals to bolster their workforce and in fact, at its peak, almost one-third of those employed in this sector were from the EU. As the UK heads towards a changing relationship with Europe, we are already seeing a decline in the number of EU nationals working in this sector. Furthermore, statistics from the Food & Drink Federation predict that food and drink manufacturing businesses will need to recruit an additional 140,000 individuals by 2024 to meet the demands of a UK population that is fast approaching 70 million.
As an industry that is currently heavily reliant on manual labour, and where many of the jobs are other than highly skilled, there is likely to be ongoing and significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of the numbers of people needed to maintain required production levels. If this sector is to meet and sustain future production demands, and mitigate the effects of labour or skills shortages, then it must embrace change.
This white paper from Staubli UK discusses how the sectors’ relationship with and reliance upon manual labour is likely to change in the near future, influenced both by the changing labour market and the realisation of the benefits which a greater uptake of robotics and automation could bring in terms of increasing productivity, quality and yield.