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Food Processors Concerned About Attracting New Talent Amid Knowledge Transfer Of Aging Workforce

Thursday, June 9, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elizabeth Peters
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AKT Advisors Manufacturing, in partnership with Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA), released the results of a survey which reveal industry concern over the aging workforce reaching retirement and the struggle to attract and retain new talent. 


Three-quarters of respondents expressed concern about this loss of knowledge due to retirement and 76 percent said they are finding it difficult to recruit people with the appropriate skills.


The survey explains that many knowledgeable, experienced employees have extensive industry knowledge that is not being transferred effectively to the next generation, which results in what is commonly referred to as the ‘brain drain.’


While the food manufacturing industry continues to boom, there is a large number of the workforce preparing to retire. Many in the industry are concerned about the struggle to attract and retain new talent especially when there are going to be less and less people to effectively train them.


Employees nearing retirement have often never been tasked with the responsibility of training others to do what they do, and in many cases are not equipped with the tools to train a new generation of Millennial workers with different motivations and skills.


According to the report, the key objective of the survey was to gauge the views about the current state of the food processing industry in the Northwest and identify the issues that are having the greatest impact.


The survey also found: 

  • Sixty-four percent of manufacturers’ IT is not directed by the executives themselves, but in the hands of an IT manager, department, or outside IT vendor. 
  • Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they had developed and launched commercially successful new products in the last 3 to 5 years. Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents said they planned to invest more in new product development in 2016 than they did last year. This shows that the food processing industry continues to be a strong and innovative economic force. 
  • Last year, 30 percent of those surveyed reported that their international sales grew, while 71 percent said they have plans to actively increase their international sales in the future.

The full report is available online at  


Members of NWFPA completed a 38-question survey on topics ranging from regulations and workforce to technology and sales. The demographics of respondents included C-suite, directors, and managers; food processors; and companies that ranged from 25 to over 200 employees.


For more information, contact Chad Summers, Manufacturing Business Advisor, AKT | CPAs | Advisors | Consultants: 503-716-9310 or



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