Research from IGD shows that 54% of young managers are very happy with their experience of the industry; only 4% are dissatisfied. Even better news is that this figure rises to almost 65% amongst female employees in what traditionally has been perceived as a male dominated sector.

The research involved a detailed questionnaire being sent to a sample of members from IGD’s Leading Edge initiative, a networking group for under 35s. Two Leading Edge members presented the results today at IGD’s Annual Convention in London – Joanne Hnat of Nestlé and Aaron Prout of Arla Foods. They were then joined by fellow members Duncan Edwards of Waitrose and Anna Chopra of Budgens to debate the issues arising from the presentations. This roundtable discussion was chaired by Clive Beddall, editor of The Grocer and included contributions from Carlos Criado-Perez Chief Executive of Safeway and Bill Ronald UK Managing Director of Mars.

So what makes working in this industry so satisfying for these future industry leaders?

The job, industry and company all have a positive impact on general levels of satisfaction, with the job itself having the greatest influence. The most positive aspect of working in this industry is the challenging nature of the working environment which received a mean score of 4 out of 5 (where 5 was “very good”). Other positive aspects include the sociable and highly motivated nature of the industry, the opportunities offered for career progression and the equal opportunities that exist.

The only aspect of their job that respondents rate negatively is the number of hours worked, generally this was worse than expected before joining the industry. With an average working week lasting 46 hours this is something the industry may need to address, particularly as “work/life balance” becomes more of an issue.

Experience of working in the food and grocery industry

Source: IGD Consumer Unit

IGD Chief Executive, Joanne Denney, said, “It is often forgotten that the food and grocery industry employs over 16% of all employees in the UK and contributes 8% of GDP. What our survey shows is that this is an exciting, challenging and rewarding industry to work in. Together we now need to get this message across to the outside world to attract the best people to our industry. This process is already underway at IGD with the launch in July this year of our Career Choices website.”


  1. Visit the IGD website
  2. Visit Career Choices
  3. IGD is the leading research and education organisation for the food and grocery industry. Its membership is drawn from the total grocery supply chain, including retail, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, catering, packaging companies and primary producers. IGD also has close links with consumer organisations.
  4. Of those that responded, 55% were female and 45% male with 80% aged under 30 years old and 84% being at graduate level or above. In terms of their work, the average salary is £30.5k with an average working week of 46 hours. The majority, 64%, work for manufacturers with 17% working for multiple retailers. 23% work in marketing, 24% in sales and 18% in buying. Between them they have an average of 5 years experience of working in the food and grocery industry.