Since the second quarter of 2020, over 10,000 new employees were recruited into the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, according to recently released statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Within the agri-food sector, there are 107,900 people employed – 94,800 males and 13,100 females.
Of note is that while 4,100 males were recruited between quarter one and quarter two in 2021, 2,600 females left the agri sector during the same period.
The addition of 10,000 new roles is encouraging for the industry, but the annual Irish Farmers Journal Agri Jobs Survey did identify a number of pain points.
The most challenging is how the sector can compete against other industries to recruit and retain staff.
To gain insight into the agriculture and food jobs market, two surveys were carried out this year, the first for employers and the second for employees.
The survey found that although 50% of participating companies had increased their head count, almost 80% are experiencing difficulty filling roles.
Positively, almost 90% of respondents believe that there are opportunities in the agri-food industry
When queried as to the reasons behind this, 40% said that there was a shortage of qualified staff, while 30% said they can’t compete with other industries.
Employees of the agriculture and food industry also had their say in the matter. Positively, almost 90% of respondents believe that there are opportunities in the agri-food industry.
However, 60% also said that they felt like better job opportunities could be found outside of the agricultural industry, although the majority (70%) of respondents do not intend to leave their job in 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the working environment.
At the moment, 37% of respondents are allowed to work from home
Employees are taking this into consideration when looking at new roles.
During the pandemic, almost 70% of the respondents were facilitated to work from home, with 20% having to attend their place of work and 10% working in a blended fashion.
At the moment, 37% of respondents are allowed to work from home, 33% are physically attending work and 30% have a blended work structure.
Finally, on a scale of one to 10 (one being not important, 10 being vital), respondents rated the importance of a blended work environment as a seven.