“Adapt or die”. It’s the principle that Mother Nature lives by. To thrive in this world, either as a solitary individual or as an organization, you have to be willing and able to evolve with the changing times or get left behind. This is especially true for the agricultural industry, whose job isn’t just to cultivate and grow their products but to cultivate and grow their business. And you can’t have a business that grows without a strong and dedicated workforce that are able to plant those seeds of ambition and bring them to fruition.
Agriculture is a booming and vital field. It’s also an industry whose labor demographics are changing: With so many specialized positions and management roles occupied by experienced and older workers, it’s only a matter of time before they retire and new blood needs to be transplanted to keep the industry’s heart beating. It’s crucial that ag executives reach out and attract the next generation of workers: Generation Y, also known as Millennials.
Millennials are the generation born from 1981-2000. They make up the bulk of recent college graduates and represent the new face of labor. If you want your business to stay in touch with changing trends and nurture talent who could be major assets for you for decades to come, you’ll need to attract millennials attention. At JBN & Associates, we know just how important it is to get the right people into the right positions. Here are a few of our tips on how you can attract millennials to come work for you in agriculture.
It’s Not Just About Farming
Let’s face it: When it comes to finding millennial candidates, agriculture has an image problem. For most Americans the word agriculture conjures up images of cows, fruit pickers, fields of wheat and hard farm living. And while it’s true that farming is a major component of the ag industry and a source of jobs, it isn’t the only kind of work available for up and coming talent.
Agriculture is a modern industry, which means ag needs social media workers and tech gurus just as much as any other business. When you have an industry that people have trouble understanding like ag, getting the right social media people in to bolster your image and present an appealing narrative to the public is crucial. There are tons of young people out there with journalism and communication degrees looking for work, and odds are good that most of them wouldn’t think their talents would be relevant for ag work. They couldn’t be more wrong, and as an executive these are the kinds of people you’ll need to grow in the 21st century.
Most people don’t realize that agriculture is also an active field for science and engineering. Whether it’s experts in soil science, researchers trying to develop stronger varieties of seeds, medical specialists working on cures for viruses that decimate crops or engineering wizards creating new technology to make seeding and cultivation faster and more efficient, ag is a place for makers, thinkers and skilled professionals to use their craft for the betterment of your business AND mankind.
Business graduates can also thrive in agriculture. Having people skilled in negotiations and management is crucial in a business that is impacted by overseas trading of resources, environmental law and shifting local and international markets. The trick is to let these people know that they are wanted and that their skills are applicable for your business.
There is a huge pool of workers out there who could be a boon to your business. They’re young, they’re ambitious and they have no idea that they could have a place in agriculture. Target these workers by targeting the fields they’re entering in and tailoring your want ads and recruitment efforts to those fields. Assume that the people you need aren’t going to come knocking on your door. You’ll have to get them to come to you.
It’s a Thriving Industry, Not a Dying One
Many people have the misconception that ag is an ailing business. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Agriculture is a huge industry and the potential for any ambitious and talented professional to earn a good living in it is very high. But most candidates don’t know that. They’ll either think of agriculture as an industry being rendered obsolete by changing technology or they’ll assume that most agriculture happens in other countries and that the industry has shut down like most manufacturing in the U.S. already has.
If you want to attract millennials to boost your company’s present profile, you have to sell them on the future. You have to combat the image that agriculture isn’t a strong, diverse and vibrant business by showing them how relevant the industry still is and how in demand your products are. And whenever possible, emphasize just how much of agriculture is still done locally. It’s easier for people to become invested and engaged when they realize that the work they’re doing is having a tangible effect on their state and their country, that the farms they represent might be a town away or that the seeds they’re developing in their research will be growing in their home state.
Tell Them This Work Matters
Future employees coming out of college are still idealistic and fresh. They want to change the world and better their place in it. What better industry to do that in than agriculture? Agriculture is the industry that keeps our species alive. Few things are more intrinsically noble than feeding the hungry and that is exactly what agriculture does.
If you want to attract millennials, let them know that this is a line of work that has meaning. Whether you’re working the soil or in research and development or doing managerial work, you are helping an industry that keeps civilization going. People want to feel like their work has value, that they are making a tangible difference in the world. In some industries, it can be hard to feel like anything you do matters.
In agriculture everything you do matters. You’ll develop resources and cultivate foods and help propagate technological breakthroughs that can save lives, end famines, bring countries back from the brink of devastation and change the way the entire world works! There aren’t many other businesses out there that can say the same.
At JBN & Associates, we’ve got the experience and the drive to place candidates into the agricultural positions they’ll thrive in. To find out more about our executive placement program, give us a call at 480-344-2822 or visit our website at www.jbnassociates.com.