Seafood companies in the United Kingdom are being urged to prioritize attracting young people to the sector after new research found that it is perceived as low-skilled and unexciting by new jobseekers.
Public body Seafish commissioned an investigation to find out what young people between the ages of 16 and 18 thought about careers in the seafood sector. It said the findings “make for worrying reading,” as many of those who took part thought the industry only offered limited career prospects and that friends would make fun of them for working with fish.
“We were already aware of some issues around attracting young jobseekers to seafood careers, but this research has highlighted the misconceptions and perceived barriers that we need to overcome to win over the next generation of talent. It includes a lot of valuable insights which we’ve used to inform a new practical guide for industry that’s full of recruitment advice,” Seafish CEO Marcus Coleman said. “As a collective seafood industry, we need to shine a light on the positive stories and show young people that it’s possible to carve out an exciting and rewarding career. We need to shout about all the different jobs that are available and the fact that seafood careers can offer young people a chance to travel the world, to become a leader or own a business.”
Coleman said the industry needs younger workers to help continue the gains it has made in recent years.
“Our seafood industry is thriving but we can’t afford to be complacent – it’s vital that we attract young people who can bring so much energy and insight and keep it vibrant for years to come,” he said.
Seafish has updated its "The World is Your Oyster" campaign, which it launched in 2015, to appeal to young jobseekers. It is encouraging seafood businesses to use these now free-to-use materials to support recruitment.
Advice offered by the guide includes, “The challenge for the industry and individual employers is to break down misconceptions with positive messages about the wide range of jobs, good pay, and progression opportunities, and the chance to be part of a thriving and sustainable industry.”
It also advises, “These messages can best be delivered by having stronger links to schools, attending career fairs, producing clear and compelling information … and engaging with young people online and on social media.”