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THE decline of young farmers and workers in the Australian industry has been an increasing issue over the last few decades.
According to the ABS, the median age of farmers is now more than 10 years older than that of other people in other occupations; 53 years compared to 40 years, so it is a well-known challenge in all sectors of the industry.
While it is a complex and difficult issue to solve, there are general methods that employers in the agriculture and red meat industry can adopt, to better their chances at attracting more youthful applicants.
Generally young employees (born between 1980 and 2000), sometimes also referred to as “millennials”, need to not only know they will be compensated but also that there is a chance for them to grow within the business.
Not many employees, young or old, will stay with an employer for too long if there is no opportunity to further their skills or increase their responsibilities.
In a study conducted by PwC on millennials in the work place, career progression was the top priority with 52% saying this was the main attraction in an employer, ahead of competitive salaries.
If an employer fosters their drive and ambition, it is more likely young employees will embrace the mission and goals of the business.
Having grown up in a world of technology, millennials expect a culture of transparency.
Within this information age, businesses cannot hide anything from customers, consumers or employees.
Where possible, employers should keep employees aware of business changes and updates and explain why decisions are made.
This open atmosphere will help to foster commitment and trust from employees.
Flat line structure
If a business has a traditional hierarchy, it could be worth exploring the idea of a more flat line structure.
This does not necessarily mean abandoning all bosses entirely, but rather ensuring employees feel they have a voice within the business and can make decisions on their own without having to wait for a chain of command.
By encouraging and valuing their insights, employees will be more motivated to go above and beyond for the business.
Strengthen your online presence
After growing up in a digital age, the first thing the majority of prospective millennial employees will do before joining a business, is search for them online.
If a business is lacking in online or social media presence, this could indicate to potential employees that the business is behind the times or not willing to embrace technology.
A business should endeavour to have an up-to-date website, as well as social media platforms where applicable.
Source: Meat Processors Pty Ltd
ABS: Australian Social Trends, Dec 2012
PwC: Millennials at work – Reshaping the workplace