Research shows young people boosting agricultural workforce

Research shows young people boosting agricultural workforce

New research from the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Sciences has shown Australia’s agricultural workforce to be growing and getting younger.

The recently released statistics have shown the proportion of under 35 year olds working in agriculture had risen to 24 per cent, 30 per cent of which were women.

The Bureau’s Executive director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the paper provided a snapshot of the characteristics and diversity of people that contribute to the industry.

“Around 11 per cent of the agricultural workforce is from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, one per cent were Indigenous and 30 per cent were women in 2016,” he said.

“More people are also entering the agricultural industry with numbers rising four per cent between 2011 and 2016, with 82 per cent of them living outside of capital cities.

“The share of women is up very slightly, accounting for 32 per cent of the workforce.

“The contribution that 87,525 farm families make to Australian agriculture is very important.

“The snapshot showed that in 2016, 18 per cent of the agricultural workforce was a contributing family member, compared to one per cent in the general Australian workforce

“The snapshot also identified an emerging trend of an increasing proportion of women and young people working in agriculture attaining non-school certificate level or higher qualifications, with the proportion rising by seven per cent for women and five per cent for young people between 2011 and 2016.

“These insights highlight the importance of understanding how our agricultural workforce is evolving, and being on the front foot to ensure we have the skilled and sustainable workforce needed for a growing and prosperous agricultural sector.”

The Nationals WA spokesperson for agriculture Colin de Grussa said the increasing number of young people and women working in agriculture was a positive trend, and reflected the progressive direction of the industry.

“Agriculture has historically been a male dominated industry, but these statistics prove things are changing,” he said.

“The report identifies an emerging trend of an increasing proportion of women and young people working in agriculture, and demonstrates how the agricultural workforce is evolving.

“My role as a representative of regional WA is to help foster and promote a strong and vibrant agricultural industry.

“This data provides evidence of an exciting and productive future for our wonderful agricultural sector.”