The drinks industry is uncorking opportunities for all reported Cara Jenkin in a recent article for News Corp, “Change is Brewing”. Jenkins interviewed Embrace Difference Chair Simon Durrant and Little Creatures head brewer Jody Thomas.
Having a drink with others may be one of the most common ways for Australians to socialise but not enough people, particularly minority groups, are considering the industry in their careers.
The Drinks Association is embarking on a push to attract a range of workers to employers in the industry, which supplies alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to retailers.
Its statistics find women employed in the industry are outnumbered almost two-to-one, but there also is a mismatch in workers with various abilities, cultures and backgrounds.
It established its Embrace Difference Council – which brought together its Women in Drinks and Diversity & Inclusion councils – to help attract the best talent in the market to the industry.
Chair Simon Durrant, who is managing director of Campari Australia and New Zealand, says there is constant invigoration and change in products as the industry improves what it offers people and the same needs to be done with its workforce.
“It’s about the way we touch people’s lives in a positive way,” he says.
“People enjoy our products and use our products in their celebratory experiences; coming together with some food and a drink and creating memories. The workforce in general is changing – we, as an industry, need to keep pace with changes.
“The drinks industry is a great place where people can enjoy really fantastic careers.”
He says some departments are more diverse than others, such as sales, marketing and HR, reflecting trends in the wider workforce.
But it wants to see wider demographics across the supply chain, IT and leadership areas.
Workers from outside the fast-moving consumer goods industry also are sought, while organisations also are introducing ways to support modern workers, such as providing flexible work arrangements.
“Those industries who have embraced diversity early have seen better financial returns for their shareholders,” Durrant says. “It’s something that needs to be adopted from the CEO down.
“This is a more inclusive industry, embracing people’s differences.”
Little Creatures head brewer Jody Thomas says she loves beer, but it is the practical application of science, philosophy, art and leadership that she enjoys about the job.
She says “sameness is boring” and urges more women to consider a career in the industry.
“Women have an important role in this space,” she says. “Plus you’re missing out on the fun if you’re not putting your hat in the ring.
“The teams that get the best results are often the ones with a good mix of experience and perspectives, and not echo chambers of people that are the same as each other.”
Below is “Change is Brewing” as it appeared in The Adelaide Advertiser; it has also appeared in The Courier-Mail and The Daily Telegraph.