The baking industry's companies have talent, and they're looking to hire even more.
Commercial bakers are promoting their organizations as dynamic destinations for job candidates at a time when the battle for talent across industries is heating up.
A recent American Bakers Association careers information webinar raised the industry's profile with potential hires by relaying opportunities at major companies in roles ranging from production to engineering.
"The great thing is there's something for everyone, regardless of skill set or experience level," said Robb MacKie, ABA's President and CEO.
The webinar speakers represented major industry companies, including Bimbo Bakeries USA, Flowers Foods, H&S Family of Bakeries, Kroger, and Puratos.
Wide Scope of the Industry
MacKie began the webinar by telling attendees about the industry's expansive scope.
"These are large-scale manufacturing operations," he said. "Think about the McDonald's burger bun or that box of Goldfish or another one of your favorite baked goods. That is the work that our industry produces with the help of nearly 800,000 skilled employees who work in a variety of career paths."
Key Roles and Pathways for Future Advancement
Speakers from industry employers said they seek candidates for plant and office positions ranging from entry level to management. Some of the roles cited in the webinar description included equipment maintenance, milling, shipping and distribution, quality assurance, food safety, sales, information systems technology, and finance.
Companies are often willing to provide training to help support success.
"For candidates who may not possess all of the skills needed for higher-level positions, we have several entry-level positions and training programs available," said Chansidy Daniels, Director of Talent Management, Flowers Foods.
Webinar speakers emphasized that baking industry employees often grow their careers by moving to other roles and advancing within companies. According to ABA’s Frontline Workforce Landscape Report, at least one in every four frontline managers or supervisors were promoted from within the company in 2019.
Qualities that Drive Success
Speakers described their company operations and emphasized the kinds of personal qualities that lead to success in baking industry roles, including the following:
- Adaptability: "Employees can succeed by adapting and excelling in a really fast-paced environment that that can change frequently," said Colin Ward, Senior Recruiter, Bimbo Bakeries USA.
- Problem Solving: "Being problem solvers and eager to learn and develop is important," said Daniels of Flowers Foods.
- Work Ethic: Entry-level candidates "just need some basic skills, and a great work ethic and attitude," said Jennifer Stiles, Director of Human Resources, Northeast Foods, part of the H&S Family of Bakeries.
- Leadership: "We want entry level employees to be leaders within their own teams," said Wayne Larson, Talent Manager, Kroger.
- Reliability: "We are looking for people who are reliable, and willing to learn and develop" said Michael Penrose, Talent Acquisition Manager of ingredient manufacturer Puratos.
Opportunities for Veterans
Company executives pointed to opportunities for veterans to find matches for their skill sets in the baking industry. Bimbo Bakeries USA, for example, enables those transitioning out of the military to search for positions using their military occupation code.
"This incredibly useful tool allows military veterans to better identify positions that directly translate to their military experience," said Ward of Bimbo Bakeries USA.
Manufacturing Education in the Spotlight
ABA's Bakers Manufacturing Academy's training solutions provide industry-specific, technical education for bakery production employees, whether new to the profession or growing in their careers. In addition, webinar attendees were given free enrollment in a beginner course on baking basics.
Baking Works Supports Recruitment
ABA's Baking Works careers site promotes wholesale baking careers through employer job listings and candidate resources. Candidates can upload their resumes and apply for positions. Those interested in learning more about careers available in the industry are encouraged to create a profile at www.bakingworks.org.