This week we meet Pamela Hopkinson, Business Development Manager at JobsinFoodManufacturing.co.uk, a specialist job site targeting the UK food and drink manufacturing sector. Anyone whose visited a British supermarket in the last ten years knows that this is one of the country's most innovative sectors!
Despite the economic slowdown, there's still a buzz in the food and drinks industry as firms develop new products, launch specialist degrees in partnership with universities, and recruit new talent! The site has a number of roles fit for MBAs so tuck in if you would like to know more.
Tell us about JobsInFoodManufacturing in a few sentences!
JobsInFoodManufacturing.co.uk is a new sector-specific jobsite. We are focused on all disciplines, with the exclusion of unskilled labour, within the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. As an organisation we believe that access to quality candidates should not be restricted by cost, so we offer basic vacancy listings for free to recruitment agencies and highly competitive rates to direct employers.
What's your role and how long have you been at the company?
We set up JobsInFoodManufacturing.co.uk in March 2012 and have enjoyed phenomenal growth during that period. In particular, the number of vacancies on offer on the site is now in line with competitor sites.
As Business Development Director, I have responsibility for promoting and raising awareness of the product and brand to our target market, within the food and drink manufacturing industry, whilst maintaining the integrity of the product and ensuring that the customer service we deliver is second to none.
What are some of the clients you work with?
We work with a number of leading industry recruiters throughout the UK, such as Kandhu Food Sector Recruitment or Focus Management Consultants Ltd. This enables us to ensure that a variety of UK-wide quality vacancies, covering a number of industry disciplines, are added to the site daily.
So far we have focused on working solely with recruitment agencies and attracting candidates, in order to populate the site and help drive meaningful footfall to it. However we are about to embark on attracting direct employers, both SME’s and large organisations, to use the site.
What's the most exciting thing about the food and drinks industry right now?
There is recognition within the industry that there needs to be a shift in the approach ito attracting future quality employees. Terry Jones, the Food and Drinks Federation Director, drew attention earlier in the year, to the fact that the industry needs to task itself with the challenge of attracting 137,000 recruits over the next five years in order to replace those who will leave the industry through retirement within that time frame.
There is a perceivable shift in how a career in the food and drink manufacturing industry is viewed and this week has seen the announcement that Sheffield Hallam University is to partner with the industry to develop a dedicated food and drink engineering degree, which is a first for the industry in this country.
What advice do you have for MBAs hoping to work in the food and drinks sector?
Although there does seem to be a an increase in recruiters taking on employees from outside of their industry, gaining any experience you can within the relevant industry disciplines can definitely give you the edge on the competition.
The food and drink industry has many niche markets within it, but as a whole is exceptionally diverse with product disciplines ranging from ambient, fresh, chilled, or frozen produce and operations ranging from cottage industries, which may be very labour intensive, to highly automated, six-sigma adhering, high-tech, capital intensive operations.
In addition to gaining relevant experience, building your network of contacts can also prove invaluable. Social media forums such as LinkedIn (and BusinessBecause!) allow candidates to connect with industry professionals, keep up-to-date with the latest news and give them a platform to interact with individuals within the industry and in turn raise their profile.
Do you think you need to love food to work in the industry?!
Although I do not think you need to love food to work in the industry, I do believe that a passion and interest in your subject area definitely will come across to people you engage with, whether they are your colleagues or a potential employer and something as minor as that can give you the edge.
Do you primarily focus on the UK or do you have international roles?
Our main focus is the UK, however we have jobs on the site that cover mainland Europe, such as International Marketing Manager in Holland or Category Manager in The Middle East. We are also looking to attract agencies and recruiters from other countries that are already active and recruit from within the UK.
Can you provide examples of the types of vacancies that might be suitable for business grads?
We currently have a number of roles from within the industry that may be a fit such as National Account Manager, Commercial Manager, Commercial Sales or Commercial Executive just to mention a few. We are also anticipating a number of graduate roles, covering a number of disciplines to be submitted to the site within the next two weeks.
Read more about MBA jobs and recruiters here