Navigating the Complexities of Labor Shortages in the F&B Industry

Food and Beverage Associate Industry

Navigating the Complexities of Labor Shortages in the F&B Industry


Labor shortages have become deeper and more disruptive across industries in the last few years. The food and beverage space has been particularly impacted, with several factors driving shortages that could risk a company’s ability to thrive in the fast-changing industry. If employers respond to this environment with a people-centric, forward-thinking strategy that recognizes the vital role of talent for business outcomes, however, they can temper the influence of labor shortages and stay far ahead of the competition.


Let’s look at the current state of the talent supply landscape in the F&B industry.


What’s Influencing F&B Industry Labor Shortages?

F&B labor shortages are nothing new—but have been exacerbated by the pandemic and subsequent “Great Resignation.” According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, nearly 100 million U.S. workers voluntarily left their jobs between 2021 and 22, and, like many other industries, F&B is still recovering. Late last year, the federal government reported there were only 72 F&B workers available for every 100 open jobs in the industry.


At the same time, F&B employers are grappling with generational changes. More than one-quarter of manufacturing jobs, for instance, are held by older workers, heightening the risk of retirement-driven vacancies. A new study from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte found that the U.S. manufacturing industry may need to hire up to 4 million workers in the next 10 years, yet nearly two-thirds of manufacturing leadership cited talent attraction and retention as their organization’s biggest business challenge today.


Meanwhile, employee expectations among the newest entrants to the workforce are markedly different than those held by previous generations, requiring F&B organizations to dramatically reshape their employer value propositions if they want to attract and retain fresh talent to address ongoing labor shortages. At the same time, the F&B industry is being rapidly reshaped by the introduction of emerging technologies, which—if not proactively addressed—could deepen skills gaps and widen labor shortages.


Strategies to Address F&B Labor Shortages

To reduce turnover and ignite attraction in this challenging environment, F&B leadership teams must prioritize strategic workforce development and management. Here are four things you can do right now:

  • Strengthen your employee value proposition (EVP): F&B employers should conduct a comprehensive analysis of their EVP to ensure they are offering the compensation, benefits, skills development, and flexibility that the F&B talent of tomorrow is looking for.

  • Upskill your F&B talent: As technology transforms F&B processes, talent needs access to ongoing upskilling to ensure their skills can help the organization stay on the leading edge of innovation. Comprehensive training and development can also become a cornerstone of the EVP, as today’s talent increasingly looks for employer support in developing the skills they need for sustainable success in the F&B industry. The National Skills Coalition, for instance, touts the criticality of giving today’s workers “access to the education, economic supports, and hiring and career advancement opportunities.”

  • Implement skills-based hiring: To widen the talent pool, many F&B employers are reimagining their hiring processes from a skills-based perspective, emphasizing candidates’ potential over their experience or degrees. Such an approach requires employers to revamp the logistical and tactical aspects of hiring and training managers and leaders to embed a skills-based focus throughout performance and talent management.

  • Increase your focus on technology: As F&B organizations infuse technology into their frontline processes, tech also should be baked into the back-end people strategies to ensure candidates move through the pipeline quickly and efficiently. At Integrity, for example, we use recruiting AI to quickly source quality talent with the skills needed to hit the ground running at our F&B client locations.


While labor shortages in the food and beverage industry are challenging, they’re not insurmountable.  At Integrity Staffing Solutions, our F&B staffing solutions are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the food and beverage packing and production sectors. By utilizing tech-driven strategies, we tailor our services to enhance your organization’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP), leverage the latest technology, and effectively boost talent acquisition and retention.


Now’s the time to secure your skilled workforce and ensure success in the dynamic F&B landscape.