We’re looking to recruit engineers across a number of disciplines as food manufacturers need for automation hits new heights following Brexit. With little opportunity to raise prices in a challenging retail environment, automation and robotics are the go-to approach for food manufacturers to cut costs and mitigate labour supply risks.
Changing market conditions have led to a ten-fold increase in automation enquiries, and we’re expanding fast. We’re looking to recruit engineers across a number of disciplines including software development, robotics, mechanical and project engineering. Harry Norman, Owner and Managing Director at OAL explains:
“We’re looking for the best engineers to deliver flexible automated food manufacturing. The pressures on the industry are driving change and at OAL you can lead the change.”
How big is the trend to automate food?
When you look at what the heads of food businesses are saying, there is a degree of inevitability about automation. In response to the global skills challenges workers face, Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, describes the challenge:
“The world is not going to stop automating, so we have to upgrade our jobs and train people to be able to do them. Because if you have a job you have everything. You have an opportunity to own a home, to make sure your kids get educated. All these things are related to each other.”
Brexit Labour Availability
There are serious concerns over the availability of European labour which currently accounts for 35% of the 400,000 jobs in the UK food industry. The Financial Times, succinctly highlighted the issues in the case of James Hook, the owner of PD Hook chicken hatcheries in Oxfordshire.
He employs 2,000 staff in over 100 farms, with as much as 80 percent of his workers in some parts of the business coming from Eastern Europe. As a result of the shortage, he has shut down one farm and is considering whether to close a further two. James explains more:
“It’s just getting more and more difficult to find people,” he said. “We go to the usual sources and they are not there. Europeans want to make a life but they’re worried about their future here. At the moment there’s no clear outcome after Brexit — and if these workers have job options outside the UK, they will take those.”
With question marks over EU workers future rights to work, it’s logical, food manufacturers are investing in automation to keep costs down and our production lines running. If you’re an engineer interested in a career in automation and robotics, you can find all the current opportunities at OAL here.