High technology in agriculture creates changing trends in recruitment.

By Dr Ray Johnson, Managing Director Agricultural Appointments

Agriculture is now undergoing its third major revolution from mechanical and scientific revolutions into the digital agriculture revolution. The sector has seen the introduction of modern tools used including moisture precision sensors, mobile apps, soil sensors, use of GPS and advanced software. The use of digital agriculture systems enables farmers to change from paddock and herd average management, to square metre and individual animal management, with subsequent increases in farm productivity. Gains of the order of 10% to 15% have been recorded in cropping systems in Australia.

We now have seen developments and processes previously not applied to agriculture based on the “Internet of Things (IoT’s) being developed and rapidly applied by farmers and agribusinesses. This technology can generate big volumes of data across the entire production system, and with appropriate software can generate excellent on-farm production and financial analyses. Such information can be overwhelming for a farmer and that is where agricultural technology skills come into play.

These changing trends in modern agriculture mean an explosive demand for candidates possessing technology skills to fill the job market. A USDA-Purdue University Study conducted in 2015 estimates that by the year 2020, over 15,000 new jobs will be created in US agriculture for the people with technology skills. Our own recent experiences indicate that Australian agriculture is already undergoing a surge in demand for such candidates.

So those eyeing these positions will have to stay abreast with these techniques and ensure their training equips them with these new-age skills. Candidates who can combine analytical skills with an aptitude for agricultural science and the ability to turn this huge data into insight for farmers, stand a great chance of getting hired.

There is already a large skills shortage in Australian agriculture. Our “2015 Salary and Trend Report” found that this has led to significant increases in remuneration for a range of occupations across the agrifood value chain. We anticipate that this will also be a major trend for remuneration packages for those candidates with good skills and experience in this new and emerging high technology area.

For more interesting information, download our 2015 Salary and Trend Report here.