Recruitment: Rising wage trends in Australian agriculture

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In his latest Agribusiness Trend and Salary Report, recruitment specialist Agricultural appointments reviewed the observed wage changes in agribusiness over the three-year period from 2015 to 2018. This report updates a previous report, tracking significant changes in agribusiness wages. -industry over the past 20 years (1995-2015). Together, they found that salaries for most roles increased at a lower rate than other industries, with a few notable exceptions, such as agronomists.

Perhaps the most prominent feature of the past three years has been the sizable increases in farm managers’ salaries, which are in part due to a greater supply than demand from experienced operators in certain sectors, and may also reflect a growing approach to agriculture in others. .

The 2015 Agricultural Appointments Salaries and Trends report for the past 20 years painted a realistic picture of salary growth in Australia during a period of drought, recession and economic uncertainty. But even in this worrying climate, there were glimmers of hope for agriculture and a recognition of global models that are poised to have a positive effect on all sectors related to Australian agriculture.

As we look into the next few years, it is heartening to see these positive predictions come true, and as long as we recognize the changing face of agribusiness, it is fair to say that its future is bold, bright and exciting.

The bigger picture

Let’s start with an overview. Wage growth in Australia is currently at its lowest level in 20 years, with an average annual figure of 1.7% during this period. Wages have declined since 2013, with the national average wage falling by around 0.5%, thanks to low inflation and a greater proportion of workers in low-income jobs.

While unemployment in Australia hovers at 5%, this has translated into very little wage growth, despite skill shortages in various sectors, including agriculture. Although these were mitigated by the importation of workers under the 457 visa regime and high rates of immigration, the same factors contributed to weak wage growth.

So, does this grim picture reflect what is going on in agriculture and how we expect it to look in the years to come? What about agriculture and novelties?

The key to understanding the future of Australian agriculture is to take a closer look at global trends.

Take the phenomenon of the global economy shifting to Asia. Over the next 15 years, Asia’s middle class is expected to grow at an exponential rate, from 28% of the reported global total in 2015 to 64% in 2050, which is a very influential group.

Considering Australia’s brand image, excellent food quality record and proximity to these markets, it has been estimated that Australian agri-food producers could achieve an additional $ 1.7 trillion in income. dollars through agricultural exports through 2050. And so we see the anticipation of strong demand for Australian agricultural products reflected in rapidly changing labor market trends.

In 2015, our analysis showed an average salary of $ 70,000 (range $ 65,000 to $ 75,000) for the roles of Director of Sales and Director of Business Development. More recently, data now shows an average base salary of around $ 100,000, which is a significant increase. This suggests that companies are now willing to structure the compensation for these roles to attract the right level of skills to their team, and in line with the average salaries of sales managers across all sectors of the industry.

In 2015, the worst performing salaries were those of operations managers, having only increased by 29% of the 20-year average. A farm manager could then expect to earn an average of $ 75,000 (in a range of $ 65,000 to $ 85,000). However, our latest figures show that the average salary of a farm manager has now increased significantly to reach $ 93,000 (range of $ 55,000 to $ 145,000).

What is interesting is that for other functions more traditionally associated with agriculture, wage growth remains weak. Our 2015 report showed that senior agronomists were getting salaries of $ 105,000 (range $ 80,000 to $ 110,000), which was the strongest salary growth since 1995, and nearly 20% more than salary. way.

However, our most recent figures show a drop in the average salary to $ 92,000 (range $ 70,000 to $ 120,000). This is surprising given that agronomy has been affected by skills shortages, although these seem to have been increasingly filled by new immigrants, who are often highly skilled and are ready to start in Australia with relatively lower salary levels to gain experience.

Longer term, the 2015 report highlighted the role of millennials (those born between 1980 and the early 1990s) in the future of farming as baby boomers move into retirement. In fact, it is estimated that they are expected to represent up to 42% of the workforce by 2020. This is essential to take this into account when examining trends in farm wages. This multitasking generation seeks professional positions in inspiring companies, averaging more than four careers in their lifetime and remaining around two years in each position.

Agriculture and the salaries offered must reflect the values ​​of this generation called upon to take over with the retirement of seniors. Salaries should match those of their peers to attract dynamic candidates, while the work environment should reflect their energetic and flexible approach.

To sum up, there are positive signs for agribusiness pay, with some roles seeing robust growth since our last report in 2015, even against the backdrop of the drought that plagued New South Wales, the southern Queensland and eastern Victoria.

  • Click this link to access the full 2019 Farm Appointments Salaries and Trends report.


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