The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking

ASB members report that the biggest challenge facing the future of the baking industry and their individual companies is the lack of a skilled workforce to fill the positions that are being vacated by the increasing number of senior employees who are retiring.

To combat the widening workforce skills gap in baking and manufacturing, the American Bakers Association (ABA) and the American Society of Baking (ASB) released an anticipated and comprehensive multi-phase study – The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions. ABA and ASB commissioned Cypress Research Associates, LLC to gauge the current state of commercial bakery manufacturer employment, amplify best practices among employers and recommend plans of action to minimize the workforce skills gap in the baking industry.

The recently released study, “The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Challenges and Solutions, 2016” documents the existing and future labor issues facing our industry and suggests some possible solutions that companies can use to recruit, train and retain skilled workers.

We all know that the wholesale baking industry is facing a shortage of qualified employees.  A large number of current and anticipated job opportunities are available in engineering, maintenance, machine operations, food scientists and research & development.

  • 78% of the baking companies reported a shortage of employees in engineering and maintenance positions, both hourly and salaried.  This shortage is expected to remain “high” to “severe”.
  • Skilled positions have grown by 60% over the past 5 years.  The baking industry is deficient in employees in all areas of production with leadership skills, problem solving and decision making skills, as well as baking-industry specific technical skills.
  • The increased use of automation/robotics (58% over the past 5 years) is opening the door for employees with technology/computer knowledge and math skills.
  • By 2025, companies anticipate a rise in shortages among hourly machine operator and unskilled production positions, and salaried scientist and R&D positions, with increases of 21%, 19% and 17% respectively, compared to current levels.

Click here to read the joint press release from ASB & ABA.

The full study can be accessed by clicking this image:

The best practices guide can be accessed by clicking this image:

The case studies can be accessed by clicking this image:

The American Society of Baking is already hard at work developing programs to address the current and future workforce gap in our industry.  ASB is revamping our scholarship program to help students break into the wholesale baking industry. We are actively helping students understand the incredible scope of opportunities in the fields of food science, engineering/manufacturing, and bakery science.  ASB has developed a Careers Section on our website that lists universities, culinary institutes and certification programs. We also profile companies and recognize individuals to help increase general awareness of bakery manufacturing as a desired career.

ASB needs your help providing concrete information that will assist potential new employees gain an understanding of the careers available in the wholesale baking industry.

Please add the following to the ASB Career section of our website to help students and upwardly mobile employees gain the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in the baking industry.: