The food industry, another sector with problems to find qualified employment

More than half of companies have difficulties expanding their staff structure, according to a survey

Food companies face difficulties in finding human resources that have the current skills required by the industry. According to a survey carried out among more than 150 companies in the food industry in Argentina, more than half of the participants assured that they have complications when wanting to expand their personnel structure.

Last year, the president of Toyota, Daniel Smith, had said: “It is difficult for us in our geographical area to find those 200 people with completed high school, because in Buenos Aires the value of a high school was lost. And it is difficult for them even to read a newspaper. We have to work, with our social responsibility, in the education of Argentina towards the future”.

The “Observatory of Competences in the Food Industry”, created by the International Master in Food Technology (MITA, of the University of Parma, Italy, in collaboration with the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA) and the Science Park of the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (PCyT FAUBA), developed an anonymous survey among more than 150 food companies in Argentina.

The behavioral skills most valued by companies when hiring human resources are the ability to work as a team and the ability to adapt and be flexible in the face of change

The survey was carried out among employees with different positions and hierarchies of food producing companies, from SMEs to multinationals; service providers and specialized consultants. and showed that More than half of those consulted —329 participants— considered that current jobs will require the development of new skills and the acquisition of knowledge in order to be able to carry them out effectively.

“The behavioral skills most valued by companies when hiring human resources are the ability to work as a team and the ability to adapt and be flexible in the face of change. On the other hand, Respondents indicate that the following skills must be reinforced: the ability to focus and be results-oriented, the ability to lead effectively and the ability to work in a team”, the report noted.

Less than 35% of respondents indicated that their company was adequately prepared for technological change
Less than 35% of respondents indicated that their company was adequately prepared for technological change

“Globalization, the pandemic, the growth of technologies and the search for constant innovation, as well as the incorporation of sustainable practices and the new requirements of consumers, have accelerated the need to make certain changes in companies, which imply an adaptation of the tasks of those who perform them. Hard knowledge alone is not enough, but flexibility capacity is required in each link of the chain”, he added.

According to the query, Less than 35% of respondents said their company was adequately prepared for technological change. They highlighted, among other reasons, those of an economic nature and the difficulties in obtaining or training human resources in relation to technological changes.

On the other hand, it was observed that the degree of application of Industry 4.0 technologies is extremely low. They do not reach 20% in any case and some items, which require capital investment and high specialization (such as robotics, 3D printing and augmented reality) are only used in 3% of the cases surveyed.

Asked about the biggest obstacles when it comes to promoting technological change, the majority of those surveyed pointed out that the economic context does not favor it, but they detailed the training of the company’s human resources as one of the biggest obstacles.

The “Observatory of Competences in the Food Industry” is an observation space that seeks to investigate and analyze different factors related to food companies in order to offer information and transform it into the training spaces that are required based on the needs for innovation and growth of the industry, and to follow the evolution of the needs of the labor market in the region’s agro-industries, putting its analysis at the service of the sector.

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