Recruitment: Ag sector’s jobs-to-candidates cycle improves

Sheep Central, August 21, 2023

Latest listings on our recruitment page, AgJobs Central:

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  • Pen rider livestock/general hand, Condamine Qld (MDH)
  • Livestock/farming general hand, Condamine Qld (MDH)

Click here to access these and other exciting meat and livestock supply chain positions currently listed on AgJobs Central.

RESULTS from a large annual agricultural sector employment survey indicate the industry has finally reached the other side of the jobs/candidates imbalance cycle.

Rimfire Resources’ 2023 Agribusiness HR Review includes a rural jobs index (RJI) showing job advertisement numbers, while remaining significantly high, have slowed in 2023.

The RJI has recorded lower year-on-year job advertisement numbers in ag since March.

The total permanent job advertisement count for July 2023 is down 30 percent from an all-time record high in February this year.

The 21st edition of the Rimfire’s annual report on workforce and HR trends, was released this week.

This year, survey responses were received from 145 organisations operating across all aspects of the Australian Agribusiness supply chain.

Rimfire managing director Mick Hay said his business was thankful to organisational leaders who volunteered their time and information in contribution to the report.

“Their commitment allows us to accurately evaluate trends within the agribusiness industry in Australia,” he said.

The graph below shows year-on-year comparisons of monthly job advertisement tallies from both the Rural Jobs Index and the SEEK Employment Report.

Monthly results for the SEEK general employment market have been on a steady decline compared to 2022 figures since January this year, whereas the agricultural sector has, until now, remained fairly consistent with last year’s results.

Over the six months to the end of June, the average variance in job ad numbers tallied by the RJI was only 1.2pc lower than the first half of 2022, while the average monthly difference in the SEEK results across the first half of the year is 14.7pc lower.

The July Rural Jobs Index result (21.3pc lower than July 2022) indicates agriculture is now following the general market, suggesting a less candidate-driven environment than has been seen over the last three years.

Salary increases

With job vacancy numbers remaining above the pre-pandemic average, the industry still faces an exceptional shortage of skilled labour, including farm managers, agronomists and other agricultural technical specialists, Rimfire’s report said.

“Attracting and retaining experienced professionals is essential to ensure the industry’s long-term growth and ability to innovate,” the report said.

“In times of candidate and labour scarcity, remuneration becomes a significant discussion topic, and there has been significant pressure on businesses to increase salaries. The growth in salaries in agribusiness sits slightly higher than the Australian Wage Price Index, but below the Consumer Price Index,” Rimfire said.

Predictions of an El Niño weather pattern expected in the second half of 2023 may result in a return to drier conditions, but current high-water storage will provide some protection against drier conditions in the shorter term, the company said.

Internationally, cropping conditions are expected to improve in several export competitor countries, causing supply pressure on Australian crop prices.

Simultaneously, consumer demand at both local and international level is feeling the impact of downward economic pressure.

“The industry’s understanding of operating at the mercy of external factors is apparent in the conservative, yet above average approach to remuneration changes seen within the Agribusiness Salary Review in the 2022/23 year,” Rimfire said.

For the 2023/24 year, Rimfire’s HR Review findings indicate that salaries will continue to rise.


Click here to access Rimfire’s 2023 report.


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