Bright future for agri-job seekers

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Large agricultural companies in Australia are urging graduates and job seekers to enter the farming industry due to skill shortages across the sector.

Bright future for agri-job seekers
Agriplacements Australia Managing Director Dr Ray Johnson

Speaking at this week's Agribusiness Remuneration Conference, Agriplacements Australia Managing Director Dr Ray Johnson says there is a huge demand to fill positions within the industry in most sectors across Australia.

"The agribusiness sector is a dynamic business growth area where opportunities abound for individuals and companies to grow and realise new business opportunities," Johnson says. 

A keynote speaker at the conference in Melbourne, Landmark Operations Managing Director Richard Norton says the current skills shortage is an issue that must be addressed.

"Landmark has more than 1,600 staff based in rural communities. We need to employ around 200 individuals each year to support and grow our business," he says.

"It is a constant challenge, and to achieve this, we have to be flexible, our structures have to be complex."

Over the last ten years, there have been a declining number of appropriately trained agricultural scientists entering the agribusiness workforce due to issues such as changes in gender balance and increased competition from other sectors including mining and finance.

Johnson says the demand for staff presents and enormous challenge for the entire industry and it must self-promote and communicate the opportunities available in agriculture to job seekers.

"From our perspective as recruiters, we find that knowledge of industry career opportunities is generally poor amongst graduates and undergraduates in particular," he says.

According to Agriplacements Australia, other factors the industry must address to reverse the skills shortfall include gaining a better understanding of the market trends relating to remuneration packages, changing its approach to reviewing and hiring prospective candidates, and widening the net to attract candidates outside Australia.

Johnson adds the industry need to address the shortage of women in the field as up to 70 per cent (depending on the specific area of study) who entered the industry are moving into marriage and family prior to or soon after entering the workforce.

"Industry must look to attract more women back into the workforce by offering flexible working conditions to accommodate their family needs," he says.

"However, most importantly, the industry must develop and execute a smart communication campaign that highlights the opportunities available, to ensure potential candidates consider a career in agribusiness."

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