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The bakery sub-sector includes the manufacture of bread, fresh pastry goods, cakes, rusks, biscuits, plus preserved pastry goods and cakes. The sub-sector represents 24% of those employed in the food and drink manufacturing sector. It employs 101,000 people in 3,000 workplaces and 48,700 retail bakery outlets across Great Britain. 4% of businesses employ 200 or more staff, 65% employ 10 or less staff.

The ‘Manufacture of bread, fresh pastry goods and cakes’ employs the majority of bakery sub-sector employees in Great Britain (70%), followed by the ‘Manufacture of rusks, biscuits, preserved pastry goods and cakes’ (30%).

Between 2000 and 2007, the size of the bakery sub-sector workforce reduced by 20%. North West has seen the most drastic change in this period, losing 4,300 of its workforce. In recent years the ‘Manufacture of rusks, biscuits, preserved bakery goods’ has seen the largest proportional decrease of 21%, accounting for a loss of over 8,000 workers.

Demand is high for some specialist roles, as employers find it increasingly difficult to recruit these workers e.g. bakers and flour confectioners. Amongst professionals, skills deficiencies exist amongst the laboratory wheat and flour specialists, who need specialist training in ‘dough reology’.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: quality assurance manager, pastry chef, multi-skilled engineers, new product development manager, baker, cake decorator

Workforce statistics:

  • 66% of the workforce is male.
  • 82% of the workforce is white, 10% Asian, 2% Black and 5% from other ethnic groups
  • More than 17,300 migrant workers (non-UK nationals) are estimated to be working in the sub-sector.
  • 13% of the workforce is aged 20-24 years, 13% is aged 40-44 years and 12% is 45-49 years.
  • 37% of the current workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next 20 years.
  • 8% of the workforce has some form of work limited disability.
  • 83% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 7% of the workforce is self-employed.
  • 14% of the workforce has no qualifications.
  • The highest qualification for majority of the workforce is GCSE grades A-C (21%) or A Levels (20%).

Source: Improve AACS LMI report 2010 and Bakery Labour Market information profile 2009/10

Bakery workforce by region, 2000 and 2007


Source: Bakery Labour Market information profile 2009/10, page 2. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2000 and 2007.

Occupational profile of the UK bakery workforce, 2008


Source: Bakery Labour Market information profile 2009/10, page 6. Data derived from the Labour Force Survey 2008.