Market experts said F&B players need to respond quickly to global changes and challenges posed to the food and beverages market. They also indicate that the F&B industry is currently creating the most jobs, as many believe there is a greater demand than supply.
Aws Ismail, director at Marc Ellis, said: “Compared to the first quarter of 2021, we have witnessed a spike of circa 120 per cent in jobs within the F&B sector. Many employers reduced their team sizes due to restrictions catering for lesser people at one time. With the restrictions being lifted, the request for F&B skillsets has soared.
"Manufacturers, restaurants, distributors, and all others are battling for the best talent to join them. The impact of the Dubai Expo and the increase in visitors to the country automatically fuelled the F&B industry and, therefore, propelled the need in F&B skillsets.”
As a trend within F&B, head hunters have identified that the most in-demand jobs include production and manufacturing jobs, technical and engineering, new product development mainly coming from cloud kitchens and restaurant aggregators.
“The need for sales or commercial candidates and front-end candidates, such as chefs and waiters, has also seen a significant rise in demand. These roles are believed to cover the most crucial business functions that the F&B industry require to fill and maintain the demand from the industry," said Ismail.
"Our HR as a service team has seen an increase in queries from F&B businesses requesting for help on maximising retention of their existing staff as well as identifying market pay scales, popular benefits being offered that can help keep their existing employees remain happy and productive, as well as a healthy and balanced work environment."
More culinary universities and colleges have been established in the country in response to the surge in demand, experts underlined. This has allowed "those with no experience to be able to get involved in the industry, creating a larger pool of skilled talent," Ismail said.
He added: “We have also noticed a huge surge in international applicants, which comes from the benefits of living in the UAE, the lifestyle, the attraction of some of the world’s biggest names in the F&B industry to the UAE market and international career exposure.”
Hiring firms also highlighted that the FMCG has especially undergone tremendous changes in recent years as a result of major mergers, acquisitions and growth of online retail and trading platforms.
Deepa Sud, CEO of a Dubai-based HR business transformation and executive search consultancy, said: “Based on the consumers’ increased appetite for e-commerce, range of products, value for money and speed of delivery, these organisations have needed to ramp up their recruitment across a wide range of roles including category buyers, digital growth experts, business intelligence and data analysis, customer engagement, contact centre, supply chain and last mile delivery roles. Interestingly, the majority of our placements are for Arabic and English bilingual candidates.”
She added: “One of the most evident trends in the F&B industry is the significant changes in the hiring of supply chain leadership, sustainability experts and culinary management."
While analysing employment trends across quarters, hiring managers are also looking at candidates who have an understanding of current F&B trends and the impact of Covid-19 on societies.
Manu Mahdi, founder and CEO of Organic & Real, said: “In our company, we are looking for a good quality product category manager, a product category manager who can understand what are the changes in the trends which are happening in the sustainable route in the specialty food categories.
"So, I have taken a decision to take freshers or youngsters to my company and I'm training them from the scratch. This is one way we will be able to create a lot of new members in the industry who will have the understanding of what are the changing scenarios in the market.”
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