Open for business: Farmers take to cyberspace to ease job shortage
The Queensland Farmers Federation is looking to resolve the industry’s worker shortage crunch with the launch of a new jobs website hailed as an Australian first.
A new website has been launched to build agricultural careers. Photo: ABC
The dedicated industry jobs platform aims to connect employers from Queensland’s agricultural sector with prospective employees, helping to gain jobseekers a position quicker while earning QFF revenue through the payment for placing job advertisements.
While other websites in the private sector may include job listings lodged by agricultural businesses, the creators from QFF say it is the first time an industry body has launched a customised ‘ag’ jobs platform with an in-built matching tool that will connect employees to employers based on what each has to offer.
And for now Queensland farm businesses will have the edge, with the service limited to employers within the state.
The launch of the site comes as severe labour and skills shortages in the industry remain one of the biggest obstacles constraining production amid a time of good seasons, high prices and strong worldwide demand for most Queensland-grown commodities.
QFF CEO Jo Sheppard said while current conditions spelled good news for the economy and regional communities, the sector needed to be able to attract, retain and grow an appropriate workforce in order to realise the growth potential.
“The entire agricultural sector and supply chain are feeling the impact of the workforce shortage and it is placing downward pressure on productivity, efficiencies and profitability and upward pressure on the cost of production,” she said.
Economic data from the State Government shows Queensland agriculture on an upward trend, with total value including fisheries and forestry estimated at more than $23 billion in 2020-21, years when Covid was still hammering supply chains.
In the five years leading up to the same time period, the total number of people employed in the sector grew 26.2 per cent compared with 9.1 per cent for the state’s overall employment.
Sheppard said while the need for agricultural workforce was growing, the traditional composition of workers for farming businesses was also evolving, requiring a range of new skills.
“It is an exciting time to work in the Queensland agricultural sector,” Sheppard said.
“Businesses are innovating to meet opportunities and challenges and are seeking talent to fill a diversity of roles within their operations.”
Sheppard said she was expecting to see increased future demand for skills in several areas including technology and data, automation, research and development, environmental sustainability, and biosecurity, markets and trade, climate change, people management, marketing, communications, and finance and risk management.