Competitive Positioning in a Candidate-Poor Talent Market

In an industry such as agribusiness, it is essential that commercial companies adapt their hiring processes to source top talent to drive their business growth. One way of achieving this is to tap into a broader talent pool and in a candidate-poor talent market, this is the key to competitive positioning. We recently conducted a national survey of agribusiness clients, receiving over 100 responses from CEO’s, MD’s, HR Managers, and other hiring managers. Over half of these respondents nominated Skills Gap as the major cause of candidate shortage in the market. This was the major factor identified by respondents. Yet none of the respondents nominated transferable skills as a way of overcoming these skills shortages.

Benefits of Utilising Transferable Skills in Finding Talent:

  1. Diversity and Inclusivity: By focusing on transferable skills, companies can attract a more diverse range of candidates from various backgrounds and industries, promoting inclusivity and broadening perspectives within the organisation.
  2. Adaptability: Employees with transferable skills are often more adaptable, making them better equipped to navigate changes, take on new responsibilities, and contribute effectively in dynamic work environments.
  3. Cost-Effective Hiring: This approach can save on recruitment costs, as companies are not limited to candidates with very specific qualifications and experience, which may require higher salaries.
  4. Reduced Turnover: When candidates are hired for their potential and not just their prior experience, they are more likely to stay with the company longer and grow within the organisation, reducing turnover.
  5. Innovation: Diverse skill sets and perspectives can foster innovation and problem-solving, as employees bring fresh ideas and approaches to the table.
  6. Increased Productivity: Employees with strong transferable skills often require less time to adapt to new roles, reducing the time it takes for them to become productive members of  the team.

Here’s a template of how companies can utilise transferable skills and the benefits it offers:

  1. Identify Key Transferable Skills: Analyse the core skills that are relevant to the company’s culture, values, and industry. Identify skills that are transferable across different roles, such as problem-solving, communication, adaptability, leadership, and time management.
  2. Expand Job Descriptions: In job postings, focus on the key skills and competencies required for success in the role, rather than listing specific industry experience or qualifications. Encourage a broader range of candidates to apply by emphasising the potential to learn and grow within the company.
  3. Use Behavioural Interviews: Implement behavioural interview techniques to assess a candidate’s past experiences and how they’ve used transferable skills to address challenges. Ask candidates to provide examples of situations where they’ve applied relevant skills effectively.
  4. Assess Cultural Fit: Examine how candidates’ values, attitudes, and behaviours align with the company culture, as these factors are often more critical than industry-specific knowledge.
  5. Offer Training and Development: Invest in onboarding, training, and professional development programs to help new hires acquire any specific skills they might lack while retaining their transferable skills.

In conclusion, embracing transferable skills in the agricultural industry not only addresses the critical issue of a skills gap but also fosters diversity, adaptability, cost-effective hiring, reduced turnover, innovation, and increased productivity, ultimately positioning agribusinesses for sustainable growth and success.

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Belinda Chung - Agribusiness Recruiting - Agricultural Appointments


The Pro's Guide To Recruiting For Agribusiness Jobs