What do food production jobs look like?

07/10/2020

This is an uncertain time for many Australians, especially those whose career paths look very different from what they assumed less than twelve months ago.

But there are many who think that the post-COVID shake-up may be just what some of our home-grown industries have needed. And we may yet see a boom in employment, innovation and opportunities. Nowhere does this seem more likely than in the food production industries.

For many people, ‘the food industry’ conjures thoughts of fast-food outlets or mobile food trucks. For others, working in the food industry suggests bar-tending, barista courses or being stuck in a hot kitchen as a dish-pig.

In fact, there is a whole world of opportunity for those passionate about food. And now might be the best time in decades to upskill and take an interest in the trends driving innovation and change across Australia.

For one thing, there is a lot of momentum around food production jobs. One only has to look at the exponential expansion of farmers markets and boutique breweries over the last decade to see where this is all heading. There is a clear demand for home-grown, locally sourced and produced foods. Skilled and unskilled workers are needed for every stage of food production. From growing and harvesting to managing animals to processing, packaging and maintaining machinery, men and women are in demand and offered good remuneration for their work. So where are the top job opportunities in food production?

Here is a list of the top 8 job opportunities in food production industries:

1. Packaging Worker

Join a team to package, label and ship food goods.

2. Food and Drinks Processing Operator

Food and drink factory hands operate machinery in a manufacturing plant that makes or processes a range of fruit, vegetables and other foods or beverages

3. Fruit and Vegetable Production Worker

Grocery processing operators control machines for collecting, sorting, processing and packaging a range of fruits and vegetables.

4. Dairy Food Processing Operator

Operators oversee the operation of equipment used to produce a wide range of dairy products such as cheese, butter, yoghurt and milk powder.

5. Advanced Production Operator

Advanced food and drink production operators oversee the operation of machinery in a factory that makes or processes a range of foods or drinks.

6. Advanced Food and Drink Packaging Operator

Responsible for controlling a range of factory packaging operations such as high-speed wrapping, case packing, and packaging lines. They may also supervise or mentor less-experienced workers.

7. Food Processing Operator (Grain)

Food process workers are needed to operate machines and prepare foods in Australia’s burgeoning wheat, barley and canola production. Australia is one of the world’s biggest producers of wheat and barley. All stages of production need workers.

8. Food Processing Technician (Poultry)

Australians rate as among the highest consumers of chicken meat on a per capita basis. Poultry production and consumption have doubled in Australia in the last twenty years. There are no signs of this trend slowing.

What about the dream of owning your own business in the food industry? Science meets art in the burgeoning world of boutique and craft beers and ciders. From designing your own brand and labels to developing your own techniques and sourcing local product, it could be the adventure of a lifetime.

There are inspirational stories emerging of young nutritionists and food scientists founding healthy, home-grown products from start-ups in their one-bedroom flat kitchenettes. Then going on to make millions and growing a national or even international market.

The food industry is evolving and adjusting to ever-changing demands and trends, coupled with new research and changing social sensibilities. Non-dairy, vegetarian, vegan and nut-free foods have challenged the food production industries. Gluten intolerance, superfoods, ocean farming, high-protein insect products. A new generation of producers, chefs and innovators are leading the way and there is no doubt that there is a strong future for food production in Australia.

Feeling inspired to start looking into job opportunities in the food industries? Spend an hour today on your favourite job-seeker site. Or do some ground-work locally. You might be just the person others are looking for with the energy, experience and ambition to get involved.

Check out some of our handy resources for job seekers, including the ultimate checklist for a job seeker looking for a job!