Pay Raise

Workforce challenges have been top of mind for the food industry for a while now as manufacturing has struggled to appeal to a new generation of workers. According to a new analysis by, the labor shortage might soon pay off for food processing workers — in the form of a fatter paycheck. analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the employees most likely to see a pay raise in the future based on recent salary increases. “Food processing workers, all other” came in at #7. Between 2016 and 2017, the median salary for these workers rose almost 24%, from $28,444 to $35,152. Men specifically saw their wages increase 21%, from $30,108 to $36,452.

“Food processing workers, all other” is a blanket category for jobs not accounted for in the main industry categories. About one-third of these jobs are in animal slaughtering and processing. Other areas of employment include wholesaling, seafood preparation and packaging, fruit and vegetable preserving, and specialty food manufacturing.

As of May 2017, the states with the highest employment in this category are California, Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, and Iowa. Meanwhile, the top paying states for these workers are Vermont, North Dakota, Nevada, Washington, and Kansas.

Even with increasing automation, food manufacturers still rely on humans to keep their plants running smoothly and efficiently. With the unemployment rate hovering just under 4%, companies will need to do more to attract and retain new workers, a task that goes beyond just paying them well. Check out these articles for ideas and examples of what innovative food companies are doing to engage the workforce:

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