A study by rural lobby group AgForce has quantified a labour shortfall in the Queensland agriculture industry.
It is reported that more than 5000 skilled, full-time employees, plus an additional 17,000 casual workers will be required by 2013 to fill the gap.
From the study, AgForce has suggested that training organisations need to diversify in order to fill the deficit, and as an initiative to recruit people into these job vacancies, there needs to be campaigns to advertise the agriculture sector as progressive, innovative and a fantastic business to work in.
AgForce represents the interest of beef, sheepmeat, wool and grain producers across the state.
The move towards hiring casual employees
The study also found that there was a move towards employers looking for casual or contract workers for certain positions. Smaller-sized enterprises in South East Queensland and Southern Inland regions of the state indicated that they employ an average of 1.71 full-time and 3.96 part-time or casual employees per enterprise.
This was mainly for tasks such as fencing, building, and earthworks, harvesting / planting and mustering of livestock, according to respondents.
The figure compares with other areas in Queensland where an enterprise typically employs on average 2.57 full-time and 2.08 part-time or casual employees.
How many is enough?
The sector needs an additional 5485 full-time and 17,431 casual workers in the next two years, the survey suggested.
Many of the increased numbers of casual employees will be required in areas which are distant from major population centres.
Lack of skilled workers, recognition of the value of agriculture, competitive employer challenges from the resource industry, succession planning, weather and enterprise viability were some of the challenges that were mentioned in the report.
A total of 36 percent of respondents felt the lack of skilled workers and the inability to afford the required staff (41pc) as a major hurdle for their business.
Cameron Dart, director of short and long term labour firm AWX said his company recognised this challenge and was focused on delivering workforce solutions to the industry.
“The employment opportunities in the agri sector outweighs the available supply,” he said.
“We’re committed to partnering with clients to attract and retain workers to the industry as part of our offering to deliver sustainable workforce solutions,” he said.
“AWX also runs a work ready program to educate and up-skill employees in order to help prepare them for employment in the industry. Our employees are trained by some of the best mentors who have been in the industry for decades,” Mr Dart said.
- To view latest recruitment listings on Beef Central, including a Head stockman/Stud supervisor role on AA Co's Wylarah Station, Surat (in the 'More industry positions' section), click here.