The global modified atmospheric (MAP) packaging sector is set to increase in size by 5% every year up to 2024 leading to a rise in executive packaging jobs. The demand for leadership is set to spread globally, with the USA leading the charge, followed closely by Europe and Asia-Pacific.

MAP is a way of extending the shelf life of food products such as fresh meat and fish. The natural atmospheric air inside a package is replaced with a gas mix which ensures the food will stay fresher for longer.

A recent report into the industry suggests that the sector will increase in size from $17bn to $26bn by 2024. One of the major driving forces of the global MAP market is the increasing consumer demand for healthy, ready-to-eat food. Meat, poultry and seafood are projected to register 1.5 times the growth in revenue. This will be particularly evident in China where there is a greater need for safer packaging and quality controlled food entering the market.

Currently, the high cost of gas filling machinery and the lack of executive packaging leadership are hindering the growth of the sector. A skills vacuum at senior levels is expected to warrant an increase in demand for talent acquisition solutions for this particular packaging sector.

Transferable skill sets from parallel packaging sectors will be deciding factors for recruitment success. The potential skills shortage will mean companies will look to sectors such as BOPP and rigid packaging manufacturing to ensure the skills gap is met.

Innovative entry level packaging jobs

Like other packaging sectors, MAP is benefitting from the emergence of flexible film and an extensive focus on innovative, eco-friendly designs. This is, in part a result of consumer demand as well as an increase in regulations within Europe and other regions.

Innovation is also being spurred on by entry level candidates, bringing fresh ideas to the table but more needs to be done to encourage talented graduates to enter the market. Last month, Chad Harrison International MD Luke Robbins-Wells called on universities to work more closely with the packaging industry to help undergraduates understand the opportunities in the sector, as well equipping them with practical skills.

Succession planning for executive positions

Some companies are anticipating the skills shortages and implementing succession plans to replace executives leaving or retiring. Luke said, “Less than 50% have a succession planning strategy. Many of our clients work reactively, particularly in the SME market. We’re working heavily with our clients to ensure they are aware of the market recruitment trends. Talent acquisition should be a constant process, keeping talented candidates warm if a need arises”

As MAP emerges as one of the largest sectors in packaging, the competition for strong, executive leadership candidates will intensify. To discuss a talent acquisition or succession planning strategy, contact Chad Harrison International today.