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The London food and drink manufacturing sector generates £12.2 billion turnover annually, and accounting for 20% of England’s sector turnover. There are an estimated 31,100 people working in the sector in London. It accounts for 9% of the food and drink manufacturing sector workforce in England. Sector employment is concentrated in Ealing (19%), Brent (17%), Haringey (5%), Bexley (5%) and Newham (4%). In London, the mean gross weekly pay is £506 per week.

There are more than 1,200 workplaces in the sector, accounting for 13% of English sector workplaces. 72% of staff work in organisations of between 1 and 10 staff, and only 4% work in organisations of over 200 staff.

London food and drink sector makes up 16% of London’s total manufacturing workforce.

Between 2000 and 2007, 2,500 jobs were lost, equivalent to a 7% drop in employment levels (a smaller decline than the UK sector average of –17%). The bakery and other food sub-sectors dominate London employment in the sector; accounting for 35% and 13% of the region’s food and drink processing employment, respectively. The bakery sub-sector employment numbers increased by 800 between 2000- 2007.

Workforce statistics:

  • 66% of the workforce is male.
  • Males tend to dominate the dairy and milling and starches sub-sub-sectors and women account for a greater than average share in the fish and fruit and vegetable processing sub-sectors.
  • Between 2000 and 2007, the male share of the workforce declined from 22,600 to 20,600 workers (-9% drop in employment levels), whereas the female share of the workforce declined from 11,000 to 10,500 workers (-5% drop in numbers).
  • 88% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 22% of all female workers are employed part-time, compared with 6% of all male workers.
  • The majority of workforce is aged 30-34 years (32%) and 25-29 years (18%).
  • 29% of the current workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next 20 years.
  • 75% of London sector employees are white, while 15% are Asian/Asian British, 5% are Black or Black British, 3% are Chinese, and 2% Other Ethnic Group.
  • 11,500 non-UK nationals are estimated to be working in the sector in London.
  • 5% of sector workers in the London have some form of work-limiting disability; 3% are registered as work-limiting disabled only and 2% are registered as DDA disabled and work-limiting disabled. A further 3% are registered as DDA disabled.
  • 12% of people working in the sector are estimated to be self-employed.
  • 2,600 workers (8%) in the sector have no qualifications, compared with the UK sector average (14%).
  • 15,100 workers (44%) in the London sector hold their highest qualification at Level 4 or above.

Vacancies and skills:

  • Many companies report few vacancies.
  • Hard-to-fill vacancies are reported in technical and skilled roles. Engineering, and other specialist skilled roles e.g. food scientists and technologists, quality assurance, bakers, millers, fish filleters and smokehouse operators.
  • Total employment in the sector is forecast to decrease by approximately 6% between 2007-2017, reflecting the UK sector average (expected to see a 6% decline).
  • Despite the decline in employment numbers, projections indicate that the sector in London will need 10,000 new recruits between 2007-2017.

Source: London Labour Market Information Profile 2009/2010