The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking

Trends, Challenges and Solutions

The American Bakers Association (ABA) and the American Society of Baking (ASB) commissioned the Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions study to gain an understanding of the current and expected skills gap in the industry, and most importantly, what can be done to fill it.  

The study found that the greatest current workforce gap among U.S. commercial bakers is among hourly maintenance and engineering positions, with 78 percent reporting a ‘high’ or ‘severe’ shortage, and will remain at this level unless programs are adopted to help close this gap. Companies project that hourly machine operators’ positions, unskilled production positions, and salaried scientist and research and development positions will skyrocket in the next 10 years. Of additional concern, a 2014 report by Deloitte states that ‘traditional approaches’ for addressing employee shortage are not as effective as they used to be, highlighting the need for new strategies.

The study is broken down into three parts for your convenience.  Download each segment by clicking the links below:

The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions – A Detailed Report

Case Studies in Baking and Manufacturing

A Best Practice Guide to Fill the Gap in the Baking Industry

  • Branding is a top action item stemming from the study.  Per the data collected, 95 percent of the industry has moderate to severe challenges in making bakery manufacturing appealing to qualified candidates, and 89 percent struggle to make qualified candidates aware of production employment opportunities in the baking industry.  Recruiting Issues









    CLICK HERE to view information from the study on how to overcome these recruitment challenges.

  • Lack of formal training programs is a major concern for the baking industry. Training Challenges






    The study outlines many solutions to help members of the baking industry overcome training challenges.  CLICK HERE to view solutions.

  • Retention is a major issue for the baking industry.  Ninety percent of companies reported that difficult working hours and shifts created a challenge in retaining employees.  Other top retention challenges include understaffing the production floor (84%) and undertrained first-line supervision (83%).  Eight in ten companies reported retention issues due to the challenging manufacturing environment and first-year retention issues.

    Retention Concerns










    The good news is that solutions currently exist to help with retention.  CLICK HERE to view these solutions.  

  •  Click on the logos below to learn more about each case study.

     Bakery Cos Video Spotlight Final