Attracting non-farmers to agricultural careers

Lyndsey Smith/RealAgriculture. 2018

How do we recruit the next generation of agriculture employees? Reaching out and attracting new generations and talent into agriculture may be the next challenge facing our industry.

Furthermore, as our society has evolved over the years, it seems that each new generation is further removed from agriculture. To explain some strategies to attract these generations back into agriculture, Bernard Tobin is joined by Becky Parker, community trust manager for BC Agriculture Council, and a Nuffield Scholar. Parker recently spoke at Farm Management Canada’s AgEx Conference on the subject.

“I think we’re all aware that that disconnect has continued to widen, between the average member of the public and the agriculture sector,” says Parker. “That’s certainly added a challenge in that their perception of agriculture is just based on what their exposure has been, and they tend to — when they think about careers in agriculture — only think about careers in primary production.” (Story continues below)

As a Nuffield Scholar, Parker has travelled the world to research this topic — places like New Zealand, and downtown Chicago, of all places — and to hear more about her experiences and findings, watch the full conversation below:

There’s a lot of careers competing for Generation Z’s attention as society continues to evolve, and Parker thinks we need to know a few things about this generation, in order to recruit them. “What we need to know about them is that they’re a big part of the population — at the last count during my research in 2015, they were about 22 per cent of the population— so they’re a big segment,” says Parker.

Generation Z is the next cohort entering into industry and what Parker found during her research as a Nuffield Scholar is that most of this generation are entrepreneurial, they want to have their own business and be able to show their creativity through their career. They also want to make a positive impact on the world, and these two factors should be kept in mind when trying to market agriculture to them.

Parker thinks there are three steps to take when trying to engage this younger generation: present all of the opportunities by “casting a wide net”, dive deeper and give opportunities to engage with those that are interested, and provide mentors, people they can learn from who will foster that enthusiasm.

Applications for the Nuffield Scholarship program open up in spring.

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