Attracting new blood to industry

More young people are needed in agriculture
More young people are needed in agriculture

A large proportion of young people across the UK are interested in working in the food and farming industry, but job security and work/life balance are key requirements to achieve a happy career.

These were the headline findings of a survey of 16 - 35 year olds across the country.

The survey, carried out last year by Farmers Guardian and backed by key industry stakeholders, sought to find out what young people really want from their careers and what could attract new talent into the agricultural sector.

Of almost 1,800 respondents, 59 per cent said they were interested in a career in the agro-industries. However, the survey highlighted a lack of understanding around the opportunities the sector can offer, with only five per cent of respondents recognising there were engineering or science-related careers available within the agricultural industry and only seven per cent making the connection between agriculture and environmental careers.

Caroline Drummond, chief executive of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) said farming was just one slice of the cake of what agriculture offers in the career spectrum.

Following the survey Farmers Guardian and stakeholders from across the farming sector are promoting careers in agriculture with a campaign called #ThisIsAgriculture.

The initiative works to educate people about the industry as well as dispelling common myths.

Research has shown the need for the industry to understand the changing requirements of today’s workforce, as survey respondents expressed the importance of flexible working hours and skills development.

Asked about the criteria on which they based their job selection, 98 per cent said they rated job security and a fun or pleasant working environment essential, very or quite important.

Achieving a good work/life balance came out at 94 per cent.

All three criteria ranked well ahead of ‘high income’, which came seventh on the list behind opportunity, helping others and location.

The opportunity for career progression was cited as either an essential requirement or very important by 70 per cent of respondents to the survey.