As 2020 was such an unprecedented year, we took the decision not to repeat our annual salary survey… but it will be back next year! The Fresh Produce Consortium, however, collect very detailed salary information from their members each year to help with benchmarking and, in the survey carried out late last year, they incorporated a series of new questions to get a picture of how Brexit and Covid-19 have affected the fruit, veg and cut flower industries.
In amongst the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit has indeed happened, which will have added to the current challenges of fresh produce businesses.
7% of respondents have taken the decision to reduce UK production in 2021 due to the expected lack of availability of labour. To recruit sufficient seasonal workers for 2021:
64% plan to advertise in the UK
43% have introduced attraction and retention schemes
32% plan to use more agencies
25% to host recruitment events
18% will use the ‘Pick for Britain’ website.
Only 1% of respondents had recruited seasonal workers under the SAWS Pilot scheme last year.
These questions focused on flexible working and what businesses were doing to support employees’ mental wellbeing. 86% of respondents said that office staff had worked from home throughout the pandemic. Once working patterns return to more of a pre-pandemic normality, 71% said that they would continue to allow employees to work from home, predicting that they would continue to work from home for almost half of the week (the average was 44% of the week).
100% had provided help with setting employees up to work from home and 83% had introduced additional measures to support the mental wellbeing of their staff during the pandemic.
It will certainly be interesting to see how these results compare when we’re looking back on 2021!
To find out more about the Fresh Produce Consortium, visit www.freshproduce.org.uk.