The study gives an overview of possible factors influencing the development of Estonian food industry and its subgroups after Estonia have joined the European Union. Possible development scenarios for food industry are described, focusing mainly on the factors influencing the sector’s development and its enterprises’ competitiveness, and also on the evaluation of economical situation of these enterprises after the merger.

The competitiveness of a company and successful realization of its products depends highly on the labour force involved in different phases of production. The decisions and actions made by labour force in different situations determine the quality of the company’s products, and thereby also the position of the company.

“Considering the limits of domestic market and low production capacity utilization so far, the enterprises’ success on foreign markets gains more and more importance.” – Tiina Annus

Among other subjects, the study addresses issues related to labour force – existing labour force and its distribution among subgroups as well as among enterprises with different size, employee categories, key specialities among skilled labourers, and so-called critical specialities.

Special attention is paid on questions related to the enterprises’ personnel policies and competitiveness in the labour market:

  • ways to find employees;
  • issues related to initial training of the employees;
  • partnership with educational institutions;
  • expectations and evaluations regarding the labour force prepared by educational institutions;
  • issues related to in-service training;
  • issues related to countinuous improvement of skills and knowledge of labour force.

In Estonian food industry, half of the labour force is employed (statistics on 2002) in fishing industry and bakeries (27% and 24%, respectively); these are followed by meat (16%) and dairy (13%) industries and drinks production (11%). The least of people are employed in producing grain, feed, and in other not previously specified subgroups (9%).

The study also focussed on problems related to preparing qualified labour force in educational institutions and offered therefor possible recommendations. Application of model for forecasting the labour force demand among food industry and its subgroups is given, model relies on the statistics provided by Statistics Estonia and on the results of survey carried out among food industry enterprises.