The baking industry's 2016 Workforce Gap Study illustrated in hard numbers what ABA, ASB, and baking industry companies already knew – we had serious workforce recruitment and retention issues. What has ABA done in the four years since the study debuted? Here's an overview:
From the recruitment perspective, ABA launched the only jobs site dedicated to the wholesale baking industry – www.BakingWorks.org – to generate awareness about frontline and corporate baking career opportunities among new pools of job seekers.
We also established the Baking Industry Alliance (ABA, AIB, ASB, ATBI, BEMA, GFF, NAMA) as part of our most recent strategic plan, which brought the organizations that represent the baking industry together to put their resources and expertise towards a common mission. The first mission they chose? Workforce recruitment.
The Baking Industry Alliance partnered with USO Pathfinder to introduce military spouses and transitioning service members to careers in the baking industry as they prepare to head into the civilian workforce. The first event at Fort Riley in Manhattan, Kansas introduced over 50 service members to career opportunities in the baking industry and now the Baking Industry Alliance is hosting virtual industry spotlight events for USO Pathfinder locations around the country.
From the retention standpoint, ABA now has an extensive portfolio of bakery employee training and education programs including:
- The Bakers Manufacturing Academy to provide beginner, specialized, and advanced frontline training solutions for baking companies.
- The energetic in-facility half-day session known as IncuBAKER which is the baking industry's opportunity to step off the plant floor and out of the office to brainstorm and plan the bakery of tomorrow.
- ABA also partnered with Hearthside University to bring a highly-specialized supervisor training program to ABA member companies – Leadership Development for Front Line Professionals.
On the immediate horizon, ABA isn’t slowing down in their campaign to help the industry address this pressing issue of workforce recruitment and retention, especially as the coronavirus public health crisis has accelerated the issue for many baking companies. This week, we are completing a frontline workforce study which will provide new data and messaging that tells the story of who the baking industry is as an employer and the career opportunities the industry offers frontline workers.
A Conversation with the Study's Author
From Sosland Publishing's Since Sliced Bread podcast:
"Kicking off the fourth season of Since Sliced Bread is a conversation with Marjorie Hellmer, president, Cypress Research Associates, a firm that has conducted research on the baking industry’s behalf for 18 years. Ms. Hellmer will discuss how the industry has evolved since Cypress conducted the 2016 Workforce Gap Study commissioned by the American Bakers Association and the American Society of Baking and break down the extent of the skills gap as well as the shortage of labor."
Listen to the full conversation on Since Sliced Bread.