10 stats that will shape the future of Australian agribusiness

As the rise of the world’s middle class in Asia dominates the growth of Australia’s food and agricultural industries over the next half century, what are the main challenges facing agribusinesses in the near future?

A lack of graduates coming out of university with agricultural qualifications?

The ageing demographic of Australian farmers?

The very different employment expectations of Generation Y, who will make up the majority of the workforce within a decade?

The answer is all three and if you’re in agribusiness, you can’t afford to ignore the statistics below:

  1. Dearth of qualified agribusiness job candidates

Trends in degree attainment in agriculture still lag way behind the rest of the Australian workforce, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics[1], something that will have an ongoing impact on agribusinesses.

  • Only 12% of people working in agriculture have a university degree, compared to 28% in the Australian workforce generally. It’s marginally better than the ratio in 1984 (3% v 9%), but still shows a large gap.
  • More than 50% of workers in agriculture have no post-school qualifications. This compares to 34% of the Australian workforce generally.
  • The number of agriculture graduates being supplied by Australian universities is less than 20% of what’s need to satisfy the job market, according to Jim Pratley, Emeritus Professor of Research in Agriculture at Charles Sturt University.[2] staff
  1. Ageing demographic of Australian farmers

The ageing demographic of Australian farmers and farm industries has made it harder to attract younger workers.

  • Between 1981-2013, the median age of farmers in Australia rose from 44 to 53 years. This compares to a median age of 40 in other occupations.
  • Nearly half of the industry is aged 55 or older – that’s up from 26% in 1981.
  • The proportion of farmers aged under 35 years was just 13% in 2011 (down from 28% in 1981).
  1. Generation Y is set to take over the workforce

As Gen Y (18-34yrs) becomes the biggest section of the workforce in the next five years, competition to attract them will be fiercer than ever – particularly for an industry with an ageing demographic, which is seen by many younger people as old-fashioned and out of touch.

  • Gen Ys, born 1980-mid 1990s, will make up 42% of the workforce by 2020[3], up from 34%
  • Only 16% of Gen Y currently chooses to live in non-urban areas[4].
  • Gen Ys stay an average of 2 years in a role and work for 17 employers in their lifetime.[5]
  • One in three of Gen Ys work casually or part time.

To find out more about the trends in the agribusiness sector in Australia, including remuneration, download our free eBook, “The 2015 Agribusiness Salary and Trend Report”.