Ministry of Cake managing director Chris Ormrod has blamed good employment rates and the stereotype against factory work for ongoing vacancies at the company.
In an interview with BBC Somerset this morning he said “the powers that be” need to do more to raise the profile of work in the food industry.
The cake manufacturer is struggling to fill 10 full-time vacancies that have been open for “weeks”.
The factory is based in Taunton, which has above-average rates of employment and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce said other businesses are also struggling to recruit due to a lack of people looking for work in the area.
Ormrod said: “We are finding it really hard to fill these vacancies – we have had them for weeks now. They are for key operatives in the bakery so people who will help us bake the sponges, put the icing on top – lovely job – swirl it round, decorate it and generally finish it off so it looks fit for going out to the customers. I’d have thought we’d have been flocking to the door by now.
“We need good people and if we can’t find them then inevitably that means we have to look elsewhere and bring in more temporary workers from outside the area. I’m not sure how you address that but if I look at around at the no of houses being built in the area I have my fingers crossed that we’ll get to a point where we’ll have more people coming in to work for us.”
Ministry of Cake pays above the minimum wage and has workers who have been with the 150-year-old business for as long as 35 years.
Ormrod disputed that the company does not pay enough, instead pointing to the high employment levels in the area and a long-standing stereotype of working in a factory, which he believes many people are not willing to do.
He said: “One in seven people in the UK work in food - just under 15%. It is a little known star.
“We try to have open days with school and do as much as we can locally to raise the profile of working in food because for all its faults it is pretty recession-proof and it does offer quite nice steady career progression.
“Education establishments, the powers that be and industry should do more to publicise the world of food.”