It’s goes without saying that food and drink are important to us, but beyond what we need to survive people invest a lot in enjoying their food and drink. This means there is an enormous number of possible careers available at all stages of the food production cycle, from farm to fork. You could work in a factory preparing food, a butcher shop or bakery selling fresh food or as a chef in a high-end restaurant, devoting immense care and skill to the preparation of meals.
There were approximately 116,402 people employed in Food and Beverage services at the end of 2017. Indications are that employment in the sector has been growing, but with a high level of movement between jobs. Average pay in food and drink manufacturing in 2017 was 47,000 euro.
The agri-food industry is benefiting from sustained growth in exports, increasing demand for employees. Many food and drink producers are have trouble finding suitable staff, particularly in entry level and general operative positions. Prospects may be dented by Brexit, which the industry is quite exposed to.
Dairy products (30%) and beef (21%) are the dominant export areas. As an island nation it is unsurprising that seafood is a key part of the food industry, with more than 14,000 employed in the area. The Horticulture industry accounts for a smaller proportion of employment, around 1000 in commercial production, but it kicks above it’s weight with an estimated value of 433 million euro in 2017. Teagasc provides training options for those interested in a career in horticulture.
With consumers developing a taste for a broader range of foods, the market for specialist and artisan producers has expanded.
People who work in this sector are generally very social, engaging in fast paced shift work where they’re on their feet often.
The sector is thriving at all stages of the production cycle, this is creating opportunities whether your chosen career path is farming, food production, becoming a chef or entering wholesale.