The Top Skills Food Manufacturing Employers Need Right Now

The demand for skilled food production professionals in Canada is ever-growing and evolving. With rapid advancements in technology, shifts in food manufacturing processes, and changing consumer trends, the skills employers need are also transforming.

Food manufacturing once relied heavily on hard, technical skills, but a plethora of soft, transferable skills are moving toward the front. Let’s not forget that AI, automation, and machine learning also put digital skills in high demand.

Whether you’re an aspiring professional hoping to break into food production or a seasoned worker aiming to get ahead, understanding the top skills that employers are seeking is crucial.

Let’s delve into the essential competencies that can set you apart in this competitive industry. From technical to transferable, discover the top skills food manufacturing employers are looking for right now and in the future.

In-Demand Food Production Skills

Canadian food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to hire quickly and deliberately for the skills they need to support the country’s food supply and continue thriving, but those aren’t the only reasons.

For manufacturers to meet the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table’s projection to export CAD 85 Billion, they’ll have to employ 56,000 new employees by next year, with Ontario needing at least 20,000 of those workers. 

Unfortunately, employers are having a rough time finding skilled talent due to the growing skills gap in the industry. However, this creates a silver lining for professionals who do.

                                                 Check Out The Top 3 Most In-Demand Jobs

Technical and Transferable Skills

There is a severe shortage of individuals with technical skills across the country, and industry experts expect the problem to persist for the next ten years, especially with maintenance, electrician, and millwright qualities. 

To fill the talent gap, hiring managers are looking for people who are proficient in: 

  • Maintaining equipment, machinery, and electrical systems
  • Installing, repairing, and optimizing a wide range of machinery

Employers also reported that it was difficult to find candidates with supervisory and managerial skills, which brings us to the transferable skills that are becoming more and more essential.

Manufacturers are seeking managers and supervisors who can develop their people and build efficient and impactful teams. They’re also searching for critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategic planning capabilities.

Not finding professionals with the food manufacturing qualifications manufacturers need will leave a high number of job vacancies. You may think job vacancies don’t add up to dollars because multiple salaries aren’t being paid, but that’s not the case.

Job vacancies can be quite costly due to their ability to slow down or even halt production. The food production industry loses over CAD 1 billion annually because of unfilled positions. 

Food Manufacturing Skills of The Future

Innovation in technology and consumer trends is transforming the skills of tomorrow in food production. Advanced technology is steadily being integrated into food production, from food science and new applications to biotechnology, AI, and automation.  

Consumer trends also have a significant impact on the industry:

  • Wanting more food transparency
  • Having a heavy focus on healthy fats and reducing sugar
  • Demanding high-protein food products with alternative options

These two elements require a host of technical and transferable skills going into the next few years.

Technical Skills

The food technology and science sector is living its best life right now, so it makes sense that employers would be looking for professionals with relative skills. This sector may be taking the spotlight, but food safety sits as one of the top ten most sought-after skills.

Even though it’s a basic requirement, employers report having difficulty finding people with food safety certifications.

Product development skills will also be in high demand over the next few years. Rapidly changing consumer trends are driving the car on this journey with no particular destination in mind.

This means manufacturers will also need the transferable skill of quick thinking in order to develop what consumers want next.

Transferable Skills

To keep up with future consumer demand, employers will need professionals with transferable skills that allow them to readily adapt to new tools, processes, and systems.

Some manufacturers are trying to get ahead of the curve and are already seeking candidates with the following transferable skills:

  • Solution-focused
  • Globally-minded
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Team collaboration
  • Resilience

While technical expertise remains essential, the demand for transferable skills has surged as employers seek adaptable and innovative professionals. The shift in demand presents a substantial opportunity for those equipped with the food manufacturing qualifications employers seek.

Embracing the change in food production not only meets the industry's demands but also opens the door to career growth and success.

Do you have the top skills Canadian food manufacturers are looking for? 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with top employers on our platform. Create a profile that easily showcases your qualifications and talents.

Don’t forget to include your technical and transferable skills. Sign up today!

Brittany Brooks


Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for 10 years. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace. She uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give employees and business owners an honest look into what’s happening at work.

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