Animal product alternatives for-profit roles spot-check

Link post

Abstract

To build un­der­stand­ing of the bot­tle­necks and job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the farmed an­i­mal move­ment, An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers con­ducted a brief “spot-check” of the job op­por­tu­ni­ties that were ad­ver­tised on the web­sites of 51 differ­ent com­pa­nies work­ing on an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, such as cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based meat. The re­sults were com­pared to the find­ings from ad­di­tional searches of the cur­rently filled roles at the same or­gani­sa­tions. The find­ings provide weak ev­i­dence that cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies are strug­gling to fill en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing roles whereas plant-based food com­pa­nies are strug­gling to fill product han­dling and man­ual roles. Some overview statis­tics about com­pa­nies work­ing on an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives were also analysed. One no­table find­ing is that over half of roles are as­so­ci­ated with com­pa­nies based in the United States. Ad­di­tion­ally, com­par­i­sons were made be­tween the de­tails and re­quire­ments of job roles in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, plant-based food com­pa­nies, and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its. Op­por­tu­ni­ties at both plant-based food and cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies tend to have higher ed­u­ca­tion and work ex­pe­rience re­quire­ments than op­por­tu­ni­ties in an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its and a far smaller pro­por­tion of the roles are re­mote.

Introduction

In or­der to de­cide where to fo­cus its in­ter­ven­tions, An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers (AAC) needs to un­der­stand what the largest bot­tle­necks are in the farmed an­i­mal move­ment. AAC also needs to un­der­stand the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the job roles that are available in or­der to in­form the ad­vice that we give through our on­line course, on­line re­sources, and one-to-one ca­reers ad­vis­ing calls. Check­ing to see the char­ac­ter­is­tics and trends among ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the move­ment, and how these com­pare to cur­rently filled roles, is one way to de­velop un­der­stand­ing of these is­sues.

In­di­vi­d­u­als can con­tribute to the farmed an­i­mal move­ment by work­ing to pro­duce, im­prove, and sell new an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives. Th­ese foods can re­duce the de­mand for an­i­mal prod­ucts, thereby re­duc­ing the num­ber of an­i­mals that are farmed.[1]

We there­fore con­ducted sev­eral re­lated searches of cur­rently filled roles and ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties at for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives be­tween Au­gust and Oc­to­ber 2020. There is no rea­son to as­sume that the time pe­ri­ods stud­ied are par­tic­u­larly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of these or­gani­sa­tions’ hiring needs; hence, we should be wary that any sur­pris­ing find­ings (es­pe­cially those based on small num­bers of job ad­verts) may sim­ply be ex­pli­ca­ble by ran­dom vari­a­tion and small sam­ple sizes.

Methodology

This spot-check con­sisted of sev­eral differ­ent analy­ses:

  • An overview anal­y­sis of the num­bers of staff cur­rently work­ing for var­i­ous differ­ent kinds of for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives.

  • A more de­tailed anal­y­sis of the staff cur­rently work­ing at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies.

  • An anal­y­sis of the roles be­ing ad­ver­tised by cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies.

  • A more de­tailed anal­y­sis of the staff cur­rently work­ing at plant-based food com­pa­nies.

  • An anal­y­sis of the roles be­ing ad­ver­tised by plant-based food com­pa­nies.

Apart from the overview anal­y­sis (which draws heav­ily from The Good Food In­sti­tute’s com­pany database), the method­ol­ogy was very similar to our Effec­tive An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Non­prof­its Roles Spot-Check. In the dis­cus­sion be­low, com­par­i­son is fre­quently made to the re­sults from that spot-check.

For more de­tail on the method­ol­ogy, see the Ap­pendix be­low.

Re­sults and discussion

How many roles were there for differ­ent types of or­gani­sa­tions?

From the overview of for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, we can do some big-pic­ture com­par­i­sons on staff num­bers in the var­i­ous sub-in­dus­tries.

Table 1: Em­ployee num­bers by cat­e­gory of an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives

Per­haps the most no­table find­ing from this anal­y­sis is that cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies are much smaller, on av­er­age, than plant-based or fer­men­ta­tion com­pa­nies. In­deed, the largest cul­ti­vated meat com­pany fo­cus­ing on cul­ti­vated meat only had 84 listed staff (Mem­phis Meats), com­pared to 852 at the largest com­pany fo­cus­ing on plant-based foods only (Alpro) and 363 fo­cus­ing on fer­men­ta­tion only (Quorn). This is un­sur­pris­ing, given that this in­dus­try is still in more of a re­search and de­vel­op­ment phase and is still grow­ing rapidly, as shown in table 2.

Table 2: Em­ployee num­bers by cat­e­gory of an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives over time, fo­cused on X only com­pa­nies with 30 or more em­ploy­ees in Au­gust 2020[2]
Table 3: Em­ployee num­bers by sub­cat­e­gory of an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, fo­cus­ing only on X only com­pa­nies

Look­ing at more spe­cific sub­cat­e­gories of an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, sev­eral find­ings are worth high­light­ing:

  • In the cul­ti­vated meat space, com­pa­nies us­ing busi­ness-to-busi­ness mod­els (work­ing on biore­ac­tors, cell cul­ture me­dia, or scaf­fold­ing and struc­ture) com­prise only about 10% of the to­tal staff and are much smaller on av­er­age than the com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing on a lab-to-con­sumer model.[3]

  • Plant-based dairy com­pa­nies em­ploy the ma­jor­ity of staff that work in com­pa­nies fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on plant-based food, with about 1.5 times as many staff as plant-based meat com­pa­nies. They also tend to be much larger, on av­er­age.

  • Bio­mass fer­men­ta­tion com­pa­nies em­ploy the ma­jor­ity of staff that work in com­pa­nies fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on fer­men­ta­tion, with about 2 times as many staff as pre­ci­sion fer­men­ta­tion. They also tend to be twice as large, on av­er­age.

Which coun­tries were roles based in?

Table 4: Em­ployee num­bers by coun­try (limited to coun­tries with 2% of the to­tal or more)

In the overview of for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, com­pa­nies were iden­ti­fied in 29 differ­ent coun­tries.[4] Over half of the staff (53%) worked for com­pa­nies based in the US and an­other third (33%) worked for com­pa­nies based in var­i­ous Euro­pean coun­tries. Of those work­ing for com­pa­nies based in the US, 74% (i.e. 39% of the to­tal) worked for com­pa­nies based in Cal­ifor­nia.

Look­ing at a more de­tailed anal­y­sis of cur­rent staff at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, the US was slightly less dom­i­nant and a larger pro­por­tion of staff were based in the Nether­lands and Is­rael.

How many roles were there for each area of ex­per­tise?

Table 5: Com­par­i­son of cur­rent roles in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, plant-based food com­pa­nies, and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its, by area of ex­per­tise that the role seems to fo­cus on

Broad com­par­i­son be­tween these cur­rent roles analy­ses re­veals some in­ter­est­ing trends:

  • A slightly higher pro­por­tion of roles in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies were cat­e­gorised as hav­ing man­age­ment or lead­er­ship roles, per­haps be­cause the or­gani­sa­tions are smaller and the re­sults are there­fore more heav­ily dom­i­nated by the found­ing team, whose ti­tles tend to im­ply man­age­ment and lead­er­ship roles, even if they have rel­a­tively few staff to man­age di­rectly.

  • The pro­por­tion of staff cat­e­gorised as hav­ing op­er­a­tions, ad­minis­tra­tion, and HR roles in plant-based food com­pa­nies was roughly twice as high as in ei­ther cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies or the non­prof­its. Again, this may be be­cause those com­pa­nies tend to be more es­tab­lished than the cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, hence are more fo­cused on usual busi­ness op­er­a­tions, rather than on R&D. Similarly, the pro­por­tion cat­e­gorised as hav­ing busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, cor­po­rate en­gage­ment, and sales roles was higher for plant-based food com­pa­nies (13%) than cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies (4%), as was the pro­por­tion cat­e­gorised as hav­ing product han­dling and man­ual tasks (10% and 2%, re­spec­tively).

  • In­deed, a ma­jor­ity (53%) of staff at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies were cat­e­gorised as hav­ing tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search roles, com­pared to only 16% at plant-based food com­pa­nies.

  • De­spite im­prove­ments in en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing be­ing a key fo­cus of some plant-based meat com­pa­nies (e.g. Re­bel­ly­ous Foods), roles of this sort com­prise only 3% of roles in plant-based food com­pa­nies, com­pared to 15% of roles at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies. Similarly, de­spite Beyond Meat only com­pris­ing 38% of the to­tal cur­rent staff iden­ti­fied in the plant-based food anal­y­sis, 66% of the com­bined to­tal of en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing plus tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search staff were em­ployed by Beyond Meat. This sug­gests that there is a much higher fo­cus on R&D and sys­tems im­prove­ment at some plant-based com­pa­nies than oth­ers.

Table 6: Com­par­i­son of cul­ti­vated meat cur­rent roles and job op­por­tu­ni­ties, by area of ex­per­tise that the role seems to fo­cus on

If cer­tain types of ex­per­tise are un­der­sup­plied in the in­dus­try, rel­a­tive to its needs, we would ex­pect that such skil­lsets would be over­rep­re­sented in job ad­verts for roles at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies:

  • Difficul­ties in hiring can­di­dates might re­sult in a higher fre­quency of job ads if no suit­able can­di­date is found.[5]

  • Difficul­ties in re­tain­ing staff, once hired, might re­sult in a higher fre­quency of job ads, since job ads would need to be posted again to re­place the de­part­ing staff mem­ber.

Given the small num­ber of roles that are ad­ver­tised at any one point, the find­ings from this anal­y­sis con­sti­tute only very weak ev­i­dence of the ex­is­tence of par­tic­u­lar ca­reer and tal­ent bot­tle­necks, how­ever.[6]

Over­all, the pro­por­tions of each role type were rel­a­tively similar. Notable differ­ences in­clude:

  • Man­age­ment or lead­er­ship roles seemed to be sub­stan­tially un­der­rep­re­sented in the ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties com­pared to the cur­rent roles (10% com­pared to 33%), sug­gest­ing that cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies do not strug­gle to fill these sorts of roles or re­tain staff in them. Again, this may re­flect the con­tinued dom­i­nance of the found­ing teams.[7]

  • Eng­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing roles seem to be slightly over­rep­re­sented in the ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties com­pared to the cur­rent roles (24% com­pared to 15%), sug­gest­ing that filling roles that re­quire this sort of ex­per­tise or re­tain­ing staff in them is difficult for cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies.

  • Roles re­quiring other tech­ni­cal skills, e.g. soft­ware en­g­ineers and com­pu­ta­tional sci­en­tists, seem to be more dra­mat­i­cally over­rep­re­sented in the ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties (10% com­pared to 1%). In fact, there were more ad­ver­tised roles than cur­rent roles in this cat­e­gory, though this com­par­i­son is based on a very small sam­ple size (i.e. we should be less con­fi­dent that this is a mean­ingful find­ing).

An ad­di­tional (slightly less re­li­able[8]) anal­y­sis was car­ried out that sub­di­vided the tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search plus the en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing roles by their ap­par­ent level of se­nior­ity. The least se­nior roles (“tech­ni­cian or as­sis­tant”) were slightly over­rep­re­sented in the ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties com­pared to the cur­rent roles (17% com­pared to 10%), sug­gest­ing that filling more en­try-level roles or re­tain­ing staff in them is more difficult than for more se­nior roles.[9]

Table 7: Com­par­i­son of plant-based food cur­rent roles and job op­por­tu­ni­ties, by area of ex­per­tise that the role seems to fo­cus on

Over­all, the pro­por­tions of each role type were very similar. The dis­par­i­ties noted for cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies were not re­peated for plant-based food com­pa­nies. How­ever, product han­dling and man­ual roles seem to be slightly over­rep­re­sented in the ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties com­pared to the cur­rent roles (20% com­pared to 10%), sug­gest­ing that filling roles that re­quire this sort of ex­per­tise or re­tain­ing staff in them is difficult for plant-based food com­pa­nies.

What was the gen­der bal­ance among cur­rent roles?

Table 8: Com­par­i­son of the gen­der bal­ance among cur­rent roles in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, plant-based food com­pa­nies, and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its, by area of ex­per­tise that the role seems to fo­cus on

Over­all, women are sub­stan­tially over­rep­re­sented among non­profit roles[10] and slightly un­der­rep­re­sented among cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based food com­pa­nies. In each type of or­gani­sa­tion, women are un­der­rep­re­sented in man­age­ment or lead­er­ship roles rel­a­tive to their pro­por­tion of the to­tal staff in that type of or­gani­sa­tion.[11] This is es­pe­cially so in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies.[12]

What were the re­quire­ments like for ad­ver­tised roles?

Table 9: Com­par­i­son of the re­quire­ments for job op­por­tu­ni­ties in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, plant-based food com­pa­nies, and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­it­s

Far more op­por­tu­ni­ties at cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based food com­pa­nies were listed as re­quiring a bach­e­lor’s de­gree than in an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its (69%, 50%, and 22%, re­spec­tively). Op­por­tu­ni­ties at cul­ti­vated meat were listed as re­quiring post­grad­u­ate or pro­fes­sional qual­ifi­ca­tions more fre­quently than in plant-based food com­pa­nies or non­prof­its (45%, 9%, and 8%, re­spec­tively), pre­sum­ably due to the higher fo­cus on R&D.

In­deed, at both cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies and plant-based food com­pa­nies, tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search roles re­quired bach­e­lor’s de­grees and grad­u­ate or pro­fes­sional qual­ifi­ca­tions es­pe­cially fre­quently (80% and 62% for cul­ti­vated meat, 70% and 40% for plant-based foods). The ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments for other role types differed be­tween cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based food com­pa­nies.[13]

For cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, all of the tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search roles that re­quired ed­u­ca­tional qual­ifi­ca­tions (i.e. 80% of the to­tal) speci­fied that those qual­ifi­ca­tions needed to be fo­cused on sub­jects re­lat­ing to biol­ogy, chem­istry, or life sci­ences. This was also the case for the ma­jor­ity of other role types that speci­fied ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments, but was not true in ev­ery in­stance.[14] Th­ese find­ings did not hold for job op­por­tu­ni­ties at plant-based food com­pa­nies.[15]

For all three groups of searches, the ma­jor­ity of op­por­tu­ni­ties stated that one or more years of rele­vant work ex­pe­rience were needed, with the av­er­age re­quired num­ber of years be­ing higher in cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based food com­pa­nies than in non­prof­its (3.1, 3.4, and 1.8 years, re­spec­tively). In both cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based food com­pa­nies, the av­er­age re­quire­ments were higher for en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing roles (3.5 and 4.6 years, re­spec­tively), op­er­a­tions, ad­minis­tra­tion, and HR roles (4.2 and 4.1),[16] and man­age­ment or lead­er­ship roles (7.8 and 6.5). They were lower for tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search (2.6 and 2.6), though this can be ex­plained by the larger pro­por­tion of roles re­quiring PhDs, which can take sev­eral years them­selves.[17]

Far fewer job op­por­tu­ni­ties at cul­ti­vated meat or plant-based food com­pa­nies were re­mote than in non­prof­its (2%, 2%, and 48%, re­spec­tively). Of course, many of these com­pa­nies re­quire tech­ni­cal lab work, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and product han­dling, though it is per­haps sur­pris­ing that so few of the more op­er­a­tional or busi­ness-ori­ented roles were re­mote.

Where and how were roles ad­ver­tised?

Table 10: Com­par­i­son of the sites where job op­por­tu­ni­ties in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, plant-based food com­pa­nies, and an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­prof­its were advertised

Though al­most all roles at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies and non­prof­its were ad­ver­tised on the or­gani­sa­tion’s own web­sites, this was not the case for the plant-based food com­pa­nies. LinkedIn was fre­quently used by the com­pa­nies.

Given that roles at cul­ti­vated meat and plant-based foods com­pa­nies are some­times ad­ver­tised on the Good Food In­sti­tute’s job board, 80,000 Hours’ job board, and the Effec­tive Altru­ism Job Post­ings Face­book group, we were sur­prised to find that none of the iden­ti­fied roles at plant-based food com­pa­nies and only 4 of the roles at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies were posted on any of these sites.

As in the non­prof­its spot-check, sev­eral or­gani­sa­tions used LinkedIn, the Face­book group, and the job boards oc­ca­sion­ally but in­con­sis­tently; only 4 cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies used LinkedIn con­sis­tently and no com­pany used the Face­book group or job boards con­sis­tently.[19]

Limi­ta­tions and sug­ges­tions for fur­ther research

  • This spot-check re­lies heav­ily on LinkedIn but not all in­di­vi­d­u­als use LinkedIn. If some coun­tries or types of staff are sys­tem­at­i­cally un­der­rep­re­sented on LinkedIn, this would bias the re­sults.

  • It is un­clear whether LinkedIn tends to in­flate or deflate the num­ber of staff at or­gani­sa­tions or in par­tic­u­lar role types.[20]

  • The searches of ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties provide only a brief snap­shot and are vuln­er­a­ble to ran­dom vari­a­tion. Ideally, re­sults would be mea­sured over a longer time pe­riod. Such re­search could be com­bined with the cre­ation and main­te­nance of a job board that fo­cuses on roles at for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives. Other­wise, the anal­y­sis of ad­ver­tised op­por­tu­ni­ties could be re­peated at later time points.

  • An anal­y­sis of aca­demic po­si­tions that have op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­search into an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives could be use­ful.

  • An anal­y­sis of the fer­men­ta­tion in­dus­try could be use­ful.

  • An anal­y­sis of the plant-based dairy in­dus­try could be use­ful, albeit low pri­or­ity.

  • An anal­y­sis that some­how ac­counts for differ­ences be­tween “X only” and other com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives could be use­ful, albeit low pri­or­ity.

  • An anal­y­sis that com­pares roles at com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives to other food com­pa­nies could be use­ful, albeit low pri­or­ity.

  • There are lots of other roles that re­late to effec­tive an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy that are not at highly im­pact-fo­cused non­prof­its or at com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives. Ex­am­ples in­clude gov­ern­ment and policy roles that af­fect farmed an­i­mals, an­i­mal welfare law roles, aca­demic po­si­tions that have op­por­tu­ni­ties for effec­tive an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy re­search, and high-pay­ing jobs that en­able peo­ple to donate lots of money to non­prof­its. Spot-checks of the roles available in these ar­eas (per­haps eval­u­ated sep­a­rately) could be use­ful.

  • Much of the anal­y­sis here de­pends on sub­jec­tive cat­e­gori­sa­tions and judge­ment calls. A par­tial repli­ca­tion of this method­ol­ogy us­ing differ­ent cat­e­gories or just by a differ­ent in­di­vi­d­ual could be use­ful, albeit low pri­or­ity.

  • The plant-based food for-profit cur­rent roles and plant-based food for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties re­search was car­ried out by a differ­ent re­searcher (Sami Mubarak) to the rest of the re­search and anal­y­sis (Jamie Har­ris). Small differ­ences in the cat­e­gori­sa­tion method­ol­ogy and de­ci­sion-mak­ing could ex­plain some of the ob­served differ­ences.

Ap­pendix: De­scrip­tion of the methodology

Overview of for-profit com­pa­nies in­volved in an­i­mal product alternatives

For the first anal­y­sis, the com­pany database pro­vided by the Good Food In­sti­tute was used as the ba­sis. GFI’s database di­vides com­pa­nies into the cat­e­gories of “Cul­ti­vated Meat,” “Plant-Based Meat, Eggs, and Dairy,” and “Fer­men­ta­tion,” and pro­vides ad­di­tional sub­cat­e­gories. No fur­ther com­pa­nies were iden­ti­fied and added to this list, though some minor ed­its were made to the database.[21] Data was gath­ered on the num­ber of staff cur­rently at the com­pany, usu­ally from LinkedIn, with searches be­ing con­ducted in late Au­gust 2020.[22] Where there were 30 or more cur­rent staff ac­cord­ing to LinkedIn, then the num­ber of staff in the pre­vi­ous two years was also eval­u­ated. Com­pa­nies were cat­e­gorised for whether they solely fo­cused on one of GFI’s three cat­e­gories or not. Com­pa­nies were marked as not solely fo­cus­ing on one cat­e­gory if they were listed in mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories within the database or if they also pro­duced or sold prod­ucts that were not in­tended to re­place an­i­mal prod­ucts.[23] Most of the anal­y­sis in this re­port fo­cuses ex­clu­sively on those com­pa­nies that were marked as solely fo­cused on one of the three cat­e­gories; these com­pa­nies seemed more likely to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the in­dus­try pro­duc­ing an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives.[24]

Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit cur­rent roles

All 25 com­pa­nies from GFI’s com­pany database that were cat­e­gorised as fo­cus­ing solely on cul­ti­vated meat and that had over five cur­rent staff listed on LinkedIn[25] were analysed in more de­tail via searches of their cur­rent staff. 375 staff were iden­ti­fied via searches in late Au­gust 2020. A list of 9 types of ex­per­tise was de­vel­oped by mod­ify­ing the list cre­ated for An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers’ “effec­tive an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy non­profit roles spot-check.” After read­ing the in­di­vi­d­ual’s job ti­tle (and some­times briefly check­ing any available de­scrip­tions of their role), up to 2 ar­eas of ex­per­tise were marked as “key” skills re­quired for that role. Up to 2 ad­di­tional ar­eas of ex­per­tise were marked as “im­por­tant” but sec­ondary. Roles that did not seem like paid roles were ex­cluded.[26] All re­sults (ex­cept for the coun­try in which the role was based) were then con­verted into a nu­mer­i­cal for­mat. Most an­swers were “yes” (1) or “no” (0), but for sim­plic­ity of re­port­ing, mid­dle an­swers such as “op­tional,” “im­por­tant,” and “preferred” were coded as 0.5.

Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit job opportunities

The same or­gani­sa­tions’ web­sites were also searched for cur­rent job open­ings; 19 or­gani­sa­tions had open­ings pub­li­cly visi­ble, for a to­tal of 119 roles (89 if du­pli­cates are ex­cluded). 80,000 Hours’ job board, re­stricted to the fac­tory farm­ing “prob­lem area,” was also searched, as was GFI’s job board and all the posts on Effec­tive Altru­ism Job Post­ings Face­book group within the past three months; for all four sources, re­sults were only added for the 25 pre-speci­fied com­pa­nies. Roles that did not seem like paid roles and non­spe­cific open ap­pli­ca­tion op­tions were ex­cluded. Sev­eral ob­jec­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics of ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties were noted, where they could be iden­ti­fied, such as whether the role was full-time, the salary that was offered, and whether re­mote work was op­tional, com­pul­sory, or un­available. The ad­ver­tised job op­por­tu­ni­ties were sorted into the same 9 types of ex­per­tise as the cur­rently filled roles. Listed fixed re­quire­ments of roles were noted, such as the min­i­mum num­ber of rele­vant years of ex­pe­rience that were re­quired. Again, re­sults were con­verted into nu­mer­i­cal for­mat.

In or­der to in­crease the sam­ple size, two sep­a­rate searches were con­ducted; the first in late Au­gust 2020, and the sec­ond ap­prox­i­mately two months later. Our anal­y­sis in this re­port ex­cludes du­pli­cates of ad­verts for roles that were iden­ti­fied at both time-points, ex­cept where oth­er­wise speci­fied.

Plant-based food for-profit cur­rent roles

A ran­dom sam­ple of 35 com­pa­nies was se­lected from the 129 com­pa­nies on GFI’s com­pany database that were cat­e­gorised as fo­cus­ing solely on plant-based and that did not have plant-based dairy as their com­pany type. Com­pa­nies that fo­cused solely on plant-based dairy were ex­cluded be­cause be­cause the an­i­mal suffer­ing in­volved with dairy seems to be lower than for other an­i­mal product types and be­cause the plant-based dairy product cat­e­gory is more es­tab­lished,[27] and there­fore seems less in­ter­est­ing from the per­spec­tive of push­ing the bound­aries of plant-based foods. Again, com­pa­nies that had un­der five cur­rent staff listed on LinkedIn were ex­cluded. The sam­ple was in­tended to be roughly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the spread of em­ploy­ees be­tween larger and smaller com­pa­nies.[28] The cur­rent staff at these com­pa­nies were analysed via searches of their cur­rent staff. 969 staff were iden­ti­fied via searches in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2020. This re­search was car­ried out by a differ­ent re­searcher (Sami Mubarak) to the cul­ti­vated meat and overview analy­ses (Jamie Har­ris). The method­ol­ogy used was oth­er­wise iden­ti­cal to the method­ol­ogy used in the “Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit cur­rent roles” search.

Plant-based food for-profit job opportunities

The same or­gani­sa­tions’ web­sites were also searched for cur­rent job open­ings; 15 or­gani­sa­tions had open­ings pub­li­cly visi­ble, for a to­tal of 107 roles. Since the sam­ple size was larger than in the cul­ti­vated meat spot-check, only one search was con­ducted, in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2020. This re­search was car­ried out by a differ­ent re­searcher (Sami Mubarak) to the cul­ti­vated meat and overview analy­ses (Jamie Har­ris). The method­ol­ogy used was oth­er­wise iden­ti­cal to the method­ol­ogy used in the “Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties” search.

Footnotes

[1] For dis­cus­sion, see here and here.

[2] The searches for num­bers of staff in the pre­vi­ous two years may ex­ag­ger­ate the growth rate in these in­dus­tries, since any com­pa­nies that had fallen from above 30 staff mem­bers to be­low this thresh­old would not have been in­cluded. The 30 staff mem­bers thresh­old is used be­cause this is the thresh­old above which LinkedIn Premium pro­vides ad­di­tional track­ing fea­tures. As above, ”X only” de­notes that only com­pa­nies that pro­duced prod­ucts ex­clu­sively within that cat­e­gory (cul­ti­vated meat, plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy, or fer­men­ta­tion) were in­cluded.

[3] This may be some­what mis­lead­ing in the sense that which B2B busi­nesses were ac­tu­ally in­cluded in GFI’s ini­tial database is pre­sum­ably fairly ar­bi­trary; if you loos­ened the crite­ria to in­clude any com­pany that might plau­si­bly sell some form of spe­cial­ised equip­ment to cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, then these num­bers would pre­sum­ably change sub­stan­tially. There may be ad­van­tages for a tech­nol­ogy of hav­ing many firms po­si­tioned along the sup­ply chain.

[4] For the full list, see the “Sum­mary ta­bles” tab on the “GFI Com­pany Database AAC adap­ta­tion” spread­sheet.

[5] If hiring by rounds, with a dead­line, then the job ad may be posted again. If hiring on a rol­ling ba­sis, then the ad may sim­ply not be taken down and would there­fore re­main on the site for longer. So we might ex­pect these roles to be over­rep­re­sented in both the re­sults with no du­pli­cates and the re­sults with du­pli­cates in­cluded.

[6] Th­ese differ­ences may rep­re­sent the rel­a­tive ease or difficulty in hiring ex­cel­lent can­di­dates for par­tic­u­lar role types, but they may al­ter­na­tively sim­ply rep­re­sent ran­dom vari­a­tion in the available roles at any one time and the limi­ta­tions of this “spot-check” method­ol­ogy.

[7] At the pre­sent time, in­di­vi­d­u­als seek­ing man­age­ment and lead­er­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies may be best off seek­ing to found their own startup! For con­sis­tency, if a job ad­vert “se­nior” sci­en­tist role noted that it would have some man­age­ment and lead­er­ship re­spon­si­bil­ities, we still did not cat­e­gorise this as be­ing man­age­ment and lead­er­ship, since, for the cur­rent roles anal­y­sis, it was im­pos­si­ble to see whether the “se­nior” sci­en­tists had man­age­ment and lead­er­ship re­spon­si­bil­ities.

[8] Mainly this is be­cause job ti­tles seem es­pe­cially likely to be mis­lead­ing. For ex­am­ple, should a “re­search as­so­ci­ate” be cat­e­gorised as a “Tech­ni­cian or as­sis­tant” or as a “Re­searcher /​ sci­en­tist”? Is there a mean­ingful differ­ence be­tween a “se­nior sci­en­tist” and a “sci­en­tist II”?

[9] See the “Tech­ni­cal re­search se­nior­ity anal­y­sis” tabs in the spread­sheets. Since there were so few tech­ni­cal re­search roles in the plant-based food for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties search, we did not carry out a similar com­par­i­son there.

[10] See the write-up of the non­profit spot-check for some fur­ther dis­cus­sion.

[11] If the com­para­tor used is the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, then women are over­rep­re­sented in non­prof­its. This seems like a less use­ful com­para­tor, how­ever.

[12] Po­ten­tially also of in­ter­est to read­ers: Ve­gan Women Sum­mit (2020) and An­this (2018).

[13] See the “Sum­mary table” tabs in the “Re­sults: Plant-based food for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties” and “Re­sults: Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties” spread­sheets for more de­tail. For ex­am­ple, in cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies, the ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments for en­g­ineer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and pro­cess­ing roles were roughly in line with the av­er­age across all iden­ti­fied roles (77% and 41%), whereas in plant-based food com­pa­nies, the re­quire­ments for bach­e­lor’s de­grees with above av­er­age (100%) but the re­quire­ments for grad­u­ate or pro­fes­sional qual­ifi­ca­tions were be­low av­er­age (0%). Note, how­ever, that these find­ings are based on only 5 such job op­por­tu­ni­ties in plant-based food com­pa­nies.

[14] Some­times, where the job ad­vert did not spec­ify that this sub­ject spe­cial­i­sa­tion was re­quited, the ad still sug­gested that ex­pe­rience in in­dus­tries that were re­lated to these sub­jects was re­quired or preferred.

[15] See the “Sum­mary table” tabs in the “Re­sults: Plant-based food for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties” and “Re­sults: Cul­ti­vated meat for-profit job op­por­tu­ni­ties” spread­sheets for more de­tail.

[16] This is in­ter­est­ing be­cause, in the non­profit roles spot-check, we found that roles of this type had be­low av­er­age time re­quire­ments (av­er­age 1.2 years re­quired).

[17] Though we as­sumed that the given time re­quire­ments referred to ex­pe­rience in ad­di­tion to the listed ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments, it was some­times un­clear whether this was the in­ten­tion (e.g. 5 years af­ter your PhD finishes, or 5 years in­clud­ing your PhD?). So the given num­bers may be slightly higher than the em­ploy­ers ac­tu­ally ex­pect, es­pe­cially for tech­ni­cal product-fo­cused re­search roles at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies.

[18] This should have been doable, but we did not con­duct such searches in the non­profit roles spot-check.

[19] The 4 com­pa­nies were Mis­sion Barns, BlueNalu, Gourmey (they didn’t list the role on their web­site), and Fin­less Foods (they didn’t list their two roles on their web­site).

There was some over­lap be­tween Mis­sion Barns’ web­site and the GFI jobs board, sug­gest­ing that the post­ings there were just a lit­tle out of date. Similarly, GFI’s jobs board con­tained one role at Cel­lu­laREvolu­tion that was no longer available and Meat­able had posted some roles on the EA jobs post­ings group, but not the roles that were live at the time we con­ducted our search.

[20] Where both LinkedIn and the web­site listed the full team, these two sources seemed to be similar. LinkedIn some­times in­flated the num­bers a lit­tle (e.g. if in­terns, board mem­bers, in­vestors, or former staff listed them­selves un­der that com­pany), though this was usu­ally less than 150% of the num­ber on the web­site. Some­times LinkedIn listed com­pa­nies in a cat­e­gory that was much larger than the visi­ble num­ber of em­ploy­ees on LinkedIn, e.g. Tofutti and High Peaks Sausage were listed in the cat­e­gory of hav­ing “51-200” staff but only had 1 iden­ti­fi­able staff mem­ber each.

[21] The ed­its in­cluded:

Quorn and Mush­labs were re­moved from the plant-based sec­tion, in keep­ing with the other com­pa­nies that fo­cused on my­co­pro­tein.

For the “solely plant-based” column, the de­fault mark­ing was “Yes” — ex­cep­tions were made for com­pa­nies where the “Brief De­scrip­tion” ex­plic­itly noted that the com­pany made non-ve­gan prod­ucts too, al­though non-ve­gan veg­e­tar­ian meat sub­sti­tutes were still in­cluded. Also, com­pa­nies that also made cul­ti­vated or fer­men­ta­tion-based prod­ucts were ex­cluded.

The over­ar­ch­ing com­pany was made into the de­fault unit of anal­y­sis, rather than the spe­cific sub-brand. For ex­am­ple, “The Hain Ce­les­tial Group” was added, which seemed to man­age sev­eral other in­cluded brands.

[22] Au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­ated LinkedIn com­pany list­ings were not counted, as they seemed likely to un­der­rep­re­sent the num­ber of staff. If no LinkedIn in­for­ma­tion could be iden­ti­fied, some­times the or­gani­sa­tion’s web­site was checked for a list of staff.

[23] For ex­am­ple, JUST was marked as “No” in the column “Solely cul­ti­vated?” be­cause it also pro­duces plant-based eggs and dairy. Cel­l­tainer Biotech BV was marked as “No” be­cause it in­cludes a fo­cus on cul­ti­vated meat as part of a wider biotech­nol­ogy busi­ness. Sev­eral com­pa­nies were marked as “No” in the column “Solely plant-based?” be­cause they also sold non-ve­gan, con­ven­tional dairy prod­ucts (e.g. Ben & Jerry’s) or a wide ar­ray of prod­ucts that were not in­tended as meat re­place­ments (e.g. Eden Foods). Th­ese de­ci­sions were made solely via the in­for­ma­tion already noted in GFI’s com­pany database plus the sum­mary in­for­ma­tion pro­vided on LinkedIn. There­fore, it seems likely that some com­pa­nies have been falsely cat­e­gorised as solely fo­cus­ing on one of the three cat­e­gories.

[24] As an ex­treme ex­am­ple, con­sider that the com­pany DuPont was in­cluded in the Fer­men­ta­tion cat­e­gory. DuPont is one of the world’s largest pro­duc­ers of chem­i­cals and sci­ence-based prod­ucts, with 33,294 em­ploy­ees on LinkedIn. Even though only a small hand­ful of these staff are highly in­volved in an­i­mal product al­ter­na­tives, the staff at this com­pany rep­re­sented 61% of all iden­ti­fied staff.

[25] Com­pa­nies with staff of five or fewer were ex­cluded be­cause it was as­sumed that these or­gani­sa­tions would be a bet­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tion of for-profit en­trepreneur­ship than of cur­rent roles and op­por­tu­ni­ties at cul­ti­vated meat com­pa­nies. While this could also be in­ter­est­ing, it was not the fo­cus of this spot-check.

[26] This in­cluded in­vestors, board mem­bers, and in­terns. How­ever, PhD can­di­dates work­ing as re­search sci­en­tists were still in­cluded.

[27] Ac­cord­ing to the Good Food In­sti­tute’s “2019 U.S. State of the In­dus­try Re­port Plant-Based Meat, Eggs, and Dairy,” plant-based milk stands at 14% share in the to­tal milk cat­e­gory in the US, com­pared to 1% for plant-based meat and 0.2% for eggs.

[28] Com­pa­nies were di­vided into six size cat­e­gories: 201+ em­ploy­ees, 101-200 em­ploy­ees, 51-100 em­ploy­ees, 21-50 em­ploy­ees, 6-20 em­ploy­ees, and 1-5 em­ploy­ees. Beyond Meat was first checked, and the sam­ple was calcu­lated with refer­ence to Beyond Meat. The “201+ em­ploy­ees” cat­e­gory (which in­cludes only two com­pa­nies, one of which is Beyond Meat) rep­re­sents about one-third of em­ploy­ees of com­pa­nies cat­e­gorised as fo­cus­ing solely on plant-based that do not have plant-based dairy as their com­pany type. A “tar­get num­ber of com­pa­nies to in­clude” was calcu­lated (see the cell for­mu­las in the “Ran­dom sam­ple for plant-based” tab on the “GFI Com­pany Database AAC adap­ta­tion” tab for de­tails) and then www.ran­dom.org was used to ran­domly se­lect the com­pa­nies within each cat­e­gory.

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