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SPECIALIST recruiting agency Rimfire Resources has released its 20th annual Agribusiness HR Review, finding that hiring and salary pressures are affecting the agriculture sector.
The Agribusiness HR Review is an annual survey assessing workforce trends and practices across Australian agribusiness based on organisational data input from more than 100 businesses.
The report provides insight and analysis into pay review processes and results, performance management, bonuses and benefits, attrition, retention strategies, training and development, and HR policies.
Favourable seasonal conditions, record export forecasts, a tight labour market and rising costs locally and globally are creating both challenges and opportunities for Australian Agribusinesses in 2022, the report found.
For months, conversations between agribusiness leaders have focused on hiring difficulties, pressure to increase salaries and develop retention strategies.
The Agribusiness HR Review has put quantitative data behind these discussions.
Overwhelmingly the results show hiring and salary pressures are affecting ag industries at large.
The review found that within the last 12 months, salaries have increased within 93.5 percent of agribusiness organisations, which is a 14pc increase on 2021 figures and the highest representation of salary increases seen since 2008.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in June showed that 31pc of Australian businesses are facing difficulties finding staff, with 79pc of those indicating ‘lack of job applicants’ is the biggest barrier to finding suitable employees.
And, despite only 26pc identifying ‘pay conditions’ as detrimental to sourcing staff, the key action planned by organisations to address the candidate shortage is to increase wages or salaries.
By comparison, the HR Review showed 42pc of employers in agribusiness believe the primary reason job offers were declined by candidates in the last 12 months was due to the salary level offered.
For more than a decade, findings from the HR Review have indicated that technical roles within agribusiness are the hardest to recruit for. They also remain the most common role employers look to international candidates for, however the 2022 review results revealed that international recruitment has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
This sentiment is reinforced by the ABARES June Quarter Economic Overview which said ‘So far, international arrivals have been slow to restart in 2022 following the lifting of restrictions, with arrivals in March being around one-fifth of those in March 2019.’
Given these conditions it’s unsurprising that agribusiness employers are looking to retention strategies, the Rimfire report said.
The report showed that growth in both employee eligibility for bonus schemes and bonus payment values has occurred, in addition to an increased prevalence of counter-offers.
In a changing workforce landscape, employees also have new options regarding working conditions. In response, close to 90pc of agribusinesses surveyed now offer flexible start and finish times to employees.
In a large number of cases this offer is only available to staff with a reliable work history, employed in positions which allow flexibility.
Almost three quarters of agribusiness organisatons plan to hire graduates within the next 12 months as part of broader career progression/succession planning initiatives, the report found.
The 2022 Agribusiness HR Review is available as both a stand-alone report or part of an annual subscription to Rimfire’s remuneration benchmarking database, the Agribusiness Salary Review.
Click here for details about the report.