By Kelli Windsor, Director, Digital Communications, FMI
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My favorite story in the grocery industry is about the CEO who started his or her career as a bagger or cashier. They work their way up to a store manager position, maybe eventually become a regional manager and after lots of grit and hard work, today are CEO of the company. It’s truly amazing how many of our CEOs today can tell this similar tale.

While this story of growth and passion is a cornerstone of the grocery industry, today’s workforce can tell a different anecdote, one more along the lines of, “I never thought I’d be doing this in food retail.” That’s because the grocery industry is being pressed for change by emerging technologies and evolving shopper needs. Yes, there are still baggers, cashiers and store managers. But there are also a growing number of technology-related jobs emerging in the grocery industry. At the same time, careers that create in-store experiences and personalized customer service are also in demand in the grocery industry.

The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2019 report asked food retailers to share their plans for labor investments over the next two years. Here are some of the new jobs you can expect to see in the grocery industry:

Online Purchase Fulfillment and Delivery Experts

With expanding grocery ecommerce models in food retail, employers are planning to hire staff that excel in skillfully fulfilling online orders while providing exceptional customer service and delivery with a smile. Fifty-seven percent of grocers surveyed plan to increase the number of “pickers” or online fulfillment experts they have on staff over the next two years and 40% plan to add more delivery staff to their roster.

Data Analytics/Data Technologist

Here’s a career challenge—take all the shopper data a grocery store has about a customer and decide how it can help the store better anticipate and meet the shopper’s needs. Now repeat that for every shopper. Over the next two years, 47% of food retailers surveyed plan to hire more talent to crunch numbers and analyze data, thus changing the grocery shopping experience for customers.

In-Store Experience Crafter

Grocers want more from their weekly grocery shopping trip—they want a memorable experience that delights. Grocers are looking to specialty department staff and customer service professionals to help create these exciting in-store experiences that keep shoppers coming back. Thirty-five percent of food retailers surveyed plan to hire more butchers, produce butchers, cheese monger etc. in the next two years and 28% will be increasing the number of customer service experts assisting guests.

Professionals to Help Shoppers Eat Well

Whether meeting health and wellness goals or solving the “what’s for dinner” question, food retailers plan to increase the number of staff who can offer customers solutions to eating well including hiring more dietitians/nutritionists (23%), trained chefs (20%) and scratch bakers/pastry chefs (20%).

Growth From Within

While today’s grocery industry labor story might be different from previous years, the model of growing and retaining talent from within a company is still strong. With a tight labor market, food retailers are improving their retention and recruitment methods. While the majority (91%) are offering higher compensation, many are also investing in talent by offering:

  • Training and skills development (76%).
  • Improved benefits (71%).
  • Flexible scheduling (59%).
  • Bonuses (57%).
  • Employee wellness programs (48%).
  • Education programs or benefits (44%).
The Added Edge

Looking for a way to help your food retail employees gain an added edge? Consider our Food Retail Leader Certificate, designed to equip professionals with food retail industry knowledge, skills, personal attributes and competencies to excel at leadership positions in the food retail industry.

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