Sector Spotlight: Food Services and Manufacturing

With Covid-19 came panic buying, dried goods stockpiling and a surge in food delivery. Hence, food production and supply is a hot industry today, and definitely worth your attention as a jobseeker. (Looking to apply? Check out jobs available here.)

Food supply is a robust industry locally:

  • 90% of our food is imported from about 170 countries and regions
  • 30% of nutritional needs to be met by local production by 2030
  • $144m Singapore Food Story R & D Programme to strengthen food security

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has highlighted that the food services sub-sector (companies that provided food services such as restaurants and cafes) was hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic compared with the food manufacturing sub-sector (companies engaged in manufacturing or supplying).

Food manufacturing firms that previously invested in automation or that manufacture staple food were able to continue to meet business demands during circuit breaker, while the food services sub-sector faced manpower shortage and low footfall during the same period, she said.

Hiring in Food Services and Manufacturing

Straits Times reported that some 5,400 jobs in food services and food manufacturing have been available since April under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, with about two in five of them for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

This comes up to approximately 2,070 jobs for PMETs. PMET roles include food technologists, chefs, food and beverage services managers and business development managers.

Non-PMET roles in the sector include supervisors and general foremen for food processing, bakers, pastry and confectionery makers, and shop and store salespersons.

What jobs are available in Food Services and Manufacturing?

The food industry is vast, complex and completely essential. While it includes everything from agriculture all the way to food-related financial services and marketing, Singapore tends to focus food distribution (such as wholesalers and importers), food services (such as delivery and catering) and R & D.

Jobs include:

Manufacturing Executive

  • Diploma or Degree in Food Science/Food Technology
  • 2-3 years experience
  • $3,000-$3,500/month
  • In the food industry, a Manufacturing Executive would review and analyse the production workflow to suggest improvements and optimisation. Such improvements could include support for digital upgrading, integrating existing processes and/or automating parts of the manufacturing process. They also uphold health and safety regulations to ensure a safe work floor.

Food Technologist

  • Diploma or Degree in Food Science/Food Technology or other Science-related discipline
  • 2-3 years experience
  • $3,000-$5,000/month
  • A Food Technologist supports product, packaging and process development by preparing equipment and materials, and assisting in consolidating data and results of experiments for defining the specifications of products and/or processes. The job often requires preparing samples and materials, supporting development of manufacturing processes, and troubleshooting existing processes for quality or regulatory lapses.

Quality Assurance Executive/Quality Controller

  • Diploma or Degree in Food Science/Food Technology or other Science-related discipline
  • 1-2 years experience
  • $3,000-$4,000/month
  • Quality Assurance (QA) Executives ensure that food production or distribution meets food safety manufacturing requirements. They conduct or support quality testing activities by preparing equipment and materials, and identify lapses in the production lines’ conformance to food safety and hygiene standards. This work also involves routine checks on company infrastructure and equipment, recording relevant data and preparing for audits.

What qualifications are needed for a career in this sector?

Generally, most roles in this sector require a diploma or degree in Food Science or Food Technology. For those with little or no prior experience in the sector, MOM recommends they sign up for company-hosted traineeships and attachments, or training courses under the SGUnited Skills Programme.

That said, many skills are transferable to this sector, so a jobseeker should highlight them on his or her resume when applying. These include innovation management, operation management, and workplace safety and health, or customer service, food product marketing, and digital skills.

What career opportunities are there in the sector?

The food services and manufacturing sector is one of the most stable, having successfully weathered this crisis and reasserted its essential nature. Also, the government is set to continue to support this sector as it aims to have Singapore meet its own food needs increasingly. Hence, job prospects are very robust and not likely to falter in the coming years.

There is also evidence of career progression in food manufacturing as companies increasingly adopt digital solutions and upgrade their logistical operations. Hence, an executive with the relevant experience can look forward to promotion or upward mobility within the sector.

Apply for a career food services and manufacturing now!