Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 8

C O M M E N TA R Y

Signs of the times
This year marks the third time
MEAT+POULTRY has published
the survey of salaries, benefits and
job satisfaction since shifting from
an annual frequency to every five
years. Back in 2010, in the wake of
an economic recession that was, at
the time, an unprecedented challenge
to all businesses across the United
States, the survey reflected some of
the fallout specific to the meat and
poultry industry. Salaries flattened
in many categories while salary and
hiring freezes were commonplace,
and in some cases layoffs were
implemented to offset input costs
and volatility in certain markets. But
10 years ago, nobody could have
fathomed the crippling impact of the
coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020.
As was the case in years past, the
Salary, Benefits and Job Satisfaction
Survey for 2020 (see Page 38), reflects
the most prominent news in the
current era, which is obviously the
global pandemic, and its irrefutable
impact. While COVID-19-related issues
were identified as the top challenge
and on-the-job source of stress among
the 488 survey respondents, their
willingness to share details about the
impact of the pandemic authenticates
the reality of the situation after about

six months of dealing with it. More
than 975 comments were part of
this year's survey in an attempt to
address what part of meat and poultry
processors' businesses had been
impacted most by COVID-19 and how
the executives' companies responded
to the challenges. Processors were
asked to clarify how the pandemic has
affected four parts of their businesses,
including: employee relations, shifting
demand from customers, in-plant
modifications and raw material
availability. Employee relations
challenges included deteriorating
morale, communicating and engaging
effectively with workers, increased
absenteeism, resistance to wearing
PPE (including masks), less interaction
among employees and coping with fear
and anxiety among line workers.
Challenges related to shifts in
demand among customers included
increasing production days/hours, lack
of labor to keep pace with demand,
shortage of certain products that have
tested customers' patience, focusing
on quantity first and quality later and
adjusting to virtual customer meetings.
Challenges to in-plant modifications
mentioned in the survey included
the cost to implement worker safety
interventions (including plastic shields
for social distancing), spreading out
workers and its impact on line speeds
and more demand for automating
processes to replace labor.

The impact on processors' access to
supplies included shortages of cleaning
supplies, refrigerant (CO2), butcher
paper, gloves, hairnets and soap,
according to the survey. Raw material
supplies and pricing were uncertain in
the first few months of the pandemic,
based on respondents' narratives, but
most reported the supply of livestock
and meat has kept up with demand in
the past two months.
Besides affirming the evolving
business impact of COVID-19 and
spotlighting some of the coping
strategies, the latest survey also
provides a snapshot of today's industry.
In short, executives participating in
the survey at the upper and middle
management levels are not transient in
their careers, with an average tenure
of 23 years working in the industry and
15 years with their current company.
The biggest proportion of respondents
(34%) were 55 to 64 years old. And
while women in executive-level
positions are on the rise in many
industries, top-level, C-suite roles
are still male dominated among large
companies (95%) and small companies
(92%) in the survey.
The complete survey and more
details about the participants and all
of their telling comments are available
on request. This well-timed research
serves as a time capsule during an era
that will not be forgotten.
J O E L C R E WS, E D I TO R | j c r e w s @ s o s l a n d .c o m

Ten years ago, nobody could have fathomed the
crippling impact to businesses and the threat to
public health posed by the coronavirus in 2020.

8

MEAT+ POULTRY | 10.20 | www.meatpoultry.com


http://www.meatpoultry.com

Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 2
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 2
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 3
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 4
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 5
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 6
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 7
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 8
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 9
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 10
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 11
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 12
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 13
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 14
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 15
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 16
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 17
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 18
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 19
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 20
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 21
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Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 23
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 24
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http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_10_01
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