Editor’s Letter: August-September 2013
By Laura Aiken
Summer is coming to a close…already? It is simply sinister that Canadian summers pass so fast.
Summer is coming to a close…already? It is simply sinister that Canadian summers pass so fast. Publishing deadlines being what they are, as I write this the warm breezes are still blowing and I have my own unique time warp happening as my husband and I anticipate the arrival of our first child due in mid-August. This will be my last editorial before I begin a one-year maternity leave, and it is with great confidence that I hand the helm over to Janine Druery.
Janine is an award-winning editor and journalist with over 20 years of experience that spans working in the mainstream media, overseeing trade publications and working closely with industry associations. She has jumped into maternity leave positions before and is looking forward to creating dynamic content for the bakery industry as well as meeting our many great readers and supportive advertisers. The baking industry is a lot of fun, and I know Janine is going to enjoy her time spent immersed in it.
I have much to anticipate, Janine has much to anticipate, and I am guessing you and your business have a lot to anticipate too. The end of another year is nearing, and I find this tends to prompt reflection on the annum that has passed. Business plans for the New Year are often determined in the early autumn months. It’s a great time for preparation, and it seems things are looking up.
The Bank of Canada’s Spring Business Outlook survey suggested an optimistic sentiment in our country’s economic climate. Conditions in the U.S. are improving, as were reported sales, current and forecasted, for the companies surveyed. There were still people reporting negative sales growth, but on balance, when looking ahead, companies were not anticipating deterioration in sales over the coming 12 months. Many were anticipating the sales growth to be tempered by strong competition.
Responses indicated that businesses were planning to invest in equipment and anticipated hiring. Firms also reported an easing in credit conditions in the prior three months.
All in all, things are looking up, even if modestly so. This bodes well for the coming months, but what about the many years ahead? As a soon-to-be parent (and by the time you read this, a new parent), I think about what the future will be like for youth coming into the workforce in 20 years or so. One thing I know for sure is that trades cannot be overlooked for males or females. It’s important to enter a course of education with a career path at the end of it. We need to continue to work towards making the path towards a career in the bakery industry clear and clearly viable. Increased mentorship and the transfer of complex artisan skills are vital to bringing up the next generation of bakers.
There is a disparity between skills in the marketplace and skills required for the available jobs. With so many companies reporting labour shortages and hiring pains, it is unfortunate we still see articles in the media about the bleak outlook for today’s graduates. Matching the right job with the right person could be easier in 20 years. Technology may bring new innovations to areas of recruitment and retention by creating better models for determining personality and aptitude. New workers don’t have a track record of proven skills. Graduating school is just one step on the path to expertise.
Looking ahead, near or far, it is a competitive but promising future for the bakery industry. People are very interested in food these days, and that shows no signs of slowing down. I wish all of our readers the best of luck in the coming 12 months. I embark on this maternity leave knowing Bakers Journal is in great and highly capable hands, and at this point the only one I have left to wish luck is me!