Do you need a hand getting a job?

Inputs | 17th January 2023 | By Andrew Whitelaw

The Snapshot

  • Labour is a challenge for all industries.
  • The number of advertisements for agricultural jobs has increased to levels not experienced since 2009.
  • There is an element of seasonality, with the peak generally in March for vacancies.
  • Due to the lack of supply of workers, attracting staff is going to be a larger challenge.
  • Like all markets, if there is a deficit in the supply of a commodity (workers), then a higher price can be commanded.
  • To attract workers improved fringe benefits or wages may be required.
  • It’s going to take a while for the labour issue to resolve.

The Detail

At EP3, we keep track of markets and anything else to do with agriculture where we can get decent datasets.

The Regional Institute Australia provide a monthly summary of the number of jobs in regional Australia (see here). This is a useful resource for providing an overview of regional Australia; however, we thought an agricultural jobs summary would also be beneficial.

I have drilled into the data provided by the Australian government ‘Internet Vacancy Index’, and only included the positions which I consider to be specifically agricultural*.

The first chart displays the monthly vacancies. The past year has seen open vacancies rise to the highest level since 2009. The mining boom?

This is likely a sign that those in agriculture are having to advertise further to get roles filled.

The average job vacancies for 2022 were 1327 (to end of November). The 2010 decade saw a monthly average of 732 agricultural job vacancies being posted online.

The chart below is what we use to determine whether there is any seasonality in a market, for instance, wheat. We have used the same methodology in this chart.

There is a slight seasonal peak in March and a seasonal low in June. What we can see in this chart is how high the past two years have been compared to the average and standard deviation.

At EP3, we believe labour is going to continue to be one of the toughest challenges for agriculture in 2023.

The problem is that employment works like every other market – supply and demand. If there is a low supply of workers, they can then command higher wages.

For those outwith agriculture, there are jobs a plenty.

Additional resources

If you want more information on labour issues, we recommend listening our sister outlet – ‘AgWatchers’, which we run as a hobby separate to EP3.

#152 Labour pains in Agriculture

We talk to Ryan Hoiberg of Rimfire resources about labour issues for employees and employers.

#148 A solution to farm labour pains

We talk to Ronald Recinos, the Guatemalan Ambassador to Australia. Guatemala has a temporary guest worker program with Canada. Thousands of Guatemalans travel to Canada every year to work on agricultural and horticultural properties.

Guatemala would like to offer the same to Australia.