The Impact Trump’s Immigration Policy May Have on the Food Industry
Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign to deport individuals who may have crossed into the US illegally in the past but are currently living in the country. The degree to which his administration will pursue this agenda will have a big impact on companies throughout the food and beverage supply industry.
The Food Industry is Particularly Vulnerable
The possible impact is compounded by a burgeoning economy. As of November 2016, unemployment stood at 4.6%. As the economy improves, more and more people are leaving the food and agriculture industry and finding jobs in other industries. Finding and hiring skilled workers in the food industry is a major concern. Surveys of food industry executives say it nudges out food safety worries as the most important issue they face.
Physically demanding farm work jobs are increasingly harder to fill. The usual pool of labor for such jobs are migrant workers willing to go where the work is available. One has to ask, “will these workers be around after immigration laws are tightened?”
The Food Industry Labor Pool is Shrinking
The other end of the supply chain has food service operators finding a challenging situation of their own. Restaurant jobs are expected to expand over the next ten years by 1.8 million positions, beyond what a US-born workforce can supply. The population of 16-to-24-year-olds, the major source of restaurant employees, isn’t expected to grow at all.
Automation will help make up some of the labor shortage. But automation cannot be used in many aspects of food production and processing. Skilled workers will have to be found for any automation implemented. Immigrant workers have been a key source for labor in this segment in the recent past. Recent discussions on the federal level regarding immigration reform will have to balance any policy change against the need to resupply the pool of skilled labor needed in the food industry.
As a leading executive recruiter, Key Corporate Services has targeted relationships with many top companies in the Food Ingredients industry. Contact us today to speak with one of our team members.