Layoffs in the oil industry and supporting sectors are leading people to look for jobs elsewhere, but agricultural employers shouldn’t rely on an influx of available labour, according to the head of an online agriculture job board.
Eric Spell of AgCareers says it’s too early to say if low oil prices will help address the labour shortage in the ag sector.
Before hiring new employees coming from the oil industry, employers should consider whether they will stick around when the energy sector heats up again, he notes.
“I would just caution employers, as they see some re-entry, that they’ll have to make decisions on whether they’ll hire these people back,” he says in the video below, filmed following his presentation at the Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg last week. “If so, what kind of screening process can you incorporate to not deny entry, but to make a more guarded decision once that sector strengthens again? Will they leave?”
The skills required to work in the oil and ag industries are similar in some cases, he says.
“Some of the technical and equipment-related positions, engineering-type positions, those are all overlapping skill sets,” notes Spell.
He suggests employers may also consider hiring men and women exiting the military.