Recruitment: Smaller ag businesses at greater risk due to skilled candidate shortages

Beef Central, 15/09/2023

Latest listings on AgJobs Central recruitment page:

  • Case Ready Manager – WA (Harvey Beef)
  • Station Manager, Minderoo – WA (Harvest Road)
  • Station Hand, Hernani – NSW (Lucas Group client)
  • Farm Manager, Moree – NSW (Spinifex Recruiting client)
  • Export Sales & Trade Manager, Meat – Vic (Rimfire client)
  • Technical Officer, Alice Springs (NT Government)
  • Cattle Manager/Couple, Florina Station – NT
  • Senior Maintenance Planner – Qld (JBS)
  • QA Officer in Charge – Qld (JBS)
  • Livestock Buyer – Vic (SAILS)
  • General Manager – WA (Beilby Downing Teal client)
  • Aggregation Manager, Gragin NSW (Faulkner Farming)

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

Careers night during an ICMJ undergraduates event

A RECENT survey of Australian agribusinesses conducted by recruiter, Agricultural Appointments found a marked difference between large-enterprise businesses and small to medium-sized businesses in how challenging they are finding attracting skilled candidates in the current environment.

Of the larger companies surveyed, 65 percent indicated they were experiencing a challenging or severe shortage of candidates. In contrast, among the SME companies, 86pc were severely affected.

This is a major difference and puts smaller ag businesses at a much higher risk of failure. The reasons for the difference between large and small companies could be related to the following, Agricultural Appointments suggested:

Limited resources

Small businesses often have limited financial resources compared to larger corporations. They may not be able to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages, which can make it challenging to attract highly-skilled and experienced individuals.

Brand recognition

Established companies usually have better brand recognition and reputation, making them more attractive to potential employees. Skilled workers may prefer to work for well-known companies with a proven track record, rather than taking a risk with a lesser-known small business.

Networking and outreach

Larger companies have more extensive networks and resources for recruiting talent. They can afford to attend job fairs, utilise recruitment agencies, and invest in online job platforms to reach a broader audience of skilled candidates. Small businesses may not have the same reach, limiting their access to potential hires.

Training and development

Larger corporations often have dedicated training and development programs to enhance the skills of their employees. Small businesses might not have the resources or capacity to provide such extensive training, which could make them less appealing to skilled individuals seeking opportunities for growth.

Job stability and benefits

Skilled workers may prioritise job stability and benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time-off. Larger companies usually have more comprehensive benefit packages that can be difficult for small businesses to match.

Risk perception

Small businesses are generally perceived as riskier than well-established corporations. Skilled workers may prefer to work for stable companies with a proven track-record, especially if they have financial obligations or families to support.

Competing with industry giants

Small businesses often compete with industry giants for the same pool of skilled workers. The lure of working for a renowned company with global recognition can make it challenging for small businesses to attract top talent.

Unique advantages with smaller ag businesses

However, it’s important to note that small businesses can still attract skilled individuals and overcome some of these challenges by highlighting their unique advantages, Agricultural Appointments suggested.

For instance, they can offer more autonomy, a close-knit working environment, greater potential for growth, and opportunities to make a direct impact on the company’s success.

Additionally, some skilled professionals may prefer the dynamic and flexible nature of small businesses, where they can wear multiple hats and contribute to various aspects of the business.

Ultimately, the ability to attract skilled people depends on the specific circumstances, industry, location, and the strategies and benefits a small business can offer to potential employees.


Click here to access Agricultural Appointments’ Salary and Trend Report

Click here to access this week’s Weekly Grill podcast, focussing on the bush labour drought.





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