The poll, carried out by JMA Research and Marketing among 500 undergraduates at 15 universities in the UK, found that just 2% of undergraduates would definitely consider going into the food and drink industry after graduation. When asked to choose what they liked about different industry sectors, 43% of those polled could not name anything they liked about food and drink manufacturing and 47% could not name anything they liked about retailing.
There are obvious concerns about what this means for the future of the industry. Paula Widdowson, commercial director at Improve, the sector skills council for food and drink manufacturing, said: “Graduates now either go for money or for long-term security, but food and drink is not perceived to fall into either of these categories.
“It means we have to work very hard to get the cream of the crop, otherwise we will lose our world-leading productivity.”
The same is true of retail, suggests the research.
Nigel Broome, chief executive of Skillsmart, the sector skills council for the retail sector, says: “We have a huge challenge to change the sector’s image. Retailers don’t promote the sector as they should.”
CIFAD is designed to promote the many opportunities in the food and drink manufacturing and retail industries available to graduates. A CIFAD directory is published every year and distributed free through universities, and people can find out more at CIFAD’s web site. >>p30 Redefining the laws of attraction