Time for agriculture to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future  

Its was wonderful to read that Australian universities are reporting a significant increase in young people studying agriculture careers.

If the agriculture sector is going to effectively leverage this increase in workforce talent and increase growth we must integrate workforce planning into our core strategic planning processes and establish a clear action plan that covers us now and well into the future.

Over the next six weeks Picture You in Agriculture will be posting their “Crafting Careers” series written by journalist Mandy McKeesick.

Crafting Careers is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for us to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to agriculture careers in schools
  • ensure there are multiple touch points along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources and
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach – we are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with

As you will see from the research quoted below agriculture is not alone in being behind the eight ball in planning in advance for its workforce needs. The time has never been better to get ahead of the curve and ensure agriculture attracts, develops and retains the best and brightest

According to Ranstad half of employers fail to plan a year in advance for changes in their workforce, and only 13% plan for a two-year period. Rather than being reactionary, agriculture can commit to being an employer of choice and ahead of the curve in ensuring we have the skill sets needed to not only thrive but also grow our sector .

Skilled talent shortages are expected to persist across Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region – even in countries where growth is slowing – due to the restructuring of many economies, labour markets and large multi-national organisations.

The region faces nothing short of a corporate leadership crisis – it’s time for organisations to re-think their approach to attracting and developing leadership talent.

To predict how this will affect agriculture we have the opportunity to :

1. Assess the current strategic position of the sector  – including factors such as the size and diversity of workforce, business goals, long-term plans for expansion or diversification, and location-specific circumstances.

2. Review existing talent – including managers and employees at all levels – and flag those whose functions will be critical to future success and how they can be up-skill these vital team members.

Consider the political and economic environment our sector is likely to operate in within the next two to five years; for example, employment regulation and the number of women in senior roles are likely to increase during this time.

We should also think about what additional talent we will need and the experience, knowledge, skills and capability required.

Effective workforce planning in the coming decade means our sector will need to use a mix of enabling tools, systems and strategies to attract, develop and retain an increasingly mobile and skilled workforce.

Adapted from predicting your future employment needs | Randstad Australia

Did you know?

Agriculture graduates enjoy strong full-time employment outcomes on graduation, with a full-time employment rate of 79.5 per cent, compared to the graduate average of 72.2 per cent. Source

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life