Job Options in the Packaging Industry

June 30,2022 Category: Staffing
As the demand for packaging professionals continues to rise with the e-commerce industry booming and consumer spending at unexpected highs, so do the job opportunities. The need for packaging experts will soon far exceed the number of people with degrees in relevant fields. This makes the packaging industry an enticing career option and area of study for students. The steady growth in demand for packaging engineers and related careers has led many to explore job options in the industry. From engineering to design and specializations such as sustainability, there are opportunities for a variety of skill sets and talent.

Careers in Packaging

Packaging engineering is a critical discipline in the packaging industry. Packaging engineers use their knowledge and skills to develop packaging programs and solutions for complex challenges. This often involves the selection of raw materials and processes, keeping in mind the package durability, shelf-life for perishable products, cost optimization and packaging sustainability.

Packaging Engineer I - Packaging engineers typically start their careers in this position, where they’ll develop basic project management skills and leadership abilities while working on less complex packaging projects. A Packaging Engineer I should understand common packaging qualification methods, have experience with line trials and understand how to work within a stage gate process. It’s important to recognize the different roles of a cross functional team in order to complete a full project cycle. Engineers will often specialize in a specific industry such as CPG or life sciences and focus on developing knowledge and skills specific to that industry. With this experience, packaging engineers can move up to the next level in their career.

Packaging Engineer II - Once an engineer has demonstrated their capabilities in project management, they become a strong candidate for a Packaging Engineer II role. In this position, the engineer’s skills should include execution of projects from conception to completion and ability to tackle more complex projects. These roles often provide experience leading multiple projects at once and require actual working knowledge of line trials, test protocols and the full cycle of a stage gate process. As an engineer builds experience, they’ll often have the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities.

Senior Packaging Engineer - More complex packaging projects are typically reserved for experienced Sr. Packaging Engineers with a proven track record of executing successful programs. This includes projects that involve global initiatives or broad organizational changes, and often require an engineer who is considered a subject matter expert on a specific process or packaging challenge. Senior Packaging Engineers need to understand organizational structures, identify gaps and effectively communicate with brand owners and stakeholders. Success as a Senior Packaging Engineer can open the door to a more advanced position as a Principal Packaging Engineer who can lead the execution of highly complex packaging programs.

More Opportunities

There are many other opportunities in the packaging industry that focus on specific areas of packaging, or help in packaging departments but in sometimes non-direct ways.

Design is another popular and essential field in packaging. Design includes not only the visual appearance of packaging, but also the structure and material decisions that affect cost, product protection and environmental impact.

Package Designer - A package designer focuses on the aesthetics of packaging, including colors, fonts and graphics. A skilled designer can put themselves in the shoes of the consumer to determine how to make the product stand out and offer benefits to the end user.

Structural Design - Structural design incorporates the elements of the packaging’s design to implement the printing, die cut, glue, sealing and other essential features of a package. This position focuses on ensuring that the product makes it to the end user safely and at a low cost in production.

Packaging Consultant - A packaging consultant typically will have experience in multiple areas of packaging. Packaging Consultants are often current or former packaging engineers who are hired by companies to bring their unique experience to packaging departments and help develop strategies for success. They often draw from extensive experience and resources to complete desired tasks and will typically work on a contract basis.

SME vs. Specialist - Sustainability, CPG, food & beverage and life sciences industries call upon specialists with extensive experience to answer difficult logistical questions in their particular areas of expertise. Sustainability managers, for example, focus on green initiatives such as reducing emissions, incorporating recycled materials or reducing the use of harmful materials to help a brand progress toward its unique sustainability goals.

Explore the Packaging Industry

Packaging is a growing industry with careers that will only increase in demand by top brands around the world. Leading universities and companies offer packaging programs that provide real-world experience to get a better understanding of the packaging industry and all of the potential within it. At Adept Group, we offer our employees exposure to iconic brands and over 60 specialized packaging disciplines. Our employees benefit from professional development hours, collaboration with experienced SMEs and access to global events. Our goal is to ensure our team has every opportunity to develop their skills and grow in their career. Explore our open job opportunities to learn more about opportunities to work for a company where our people matter most.