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Hiring and employment trends in ag

In 2017, the top three searched words on AgCareers.com were “Sales,” “Agronomy,” and “Internship.”

For ten years, AgCareers.com has analyzed candidate and job posting trends in the agricultural industry for the annual Agribusiness Job Outlook Report.  What can we glean from 2017 trends?  How will this impact hiring and employment in the agricultural industry in 2018?

In February 2018, Farm Futures noted that farmers are in for another tough year, with net farm income set to drop again, according to the USDA.  Despite the challenging agricultural economic climate, there were still nearly 125,000 jobs active on AgCareers.com in 2017. 

Job trends

On average, employers posted 5,500 North American jobs on AgCareers.com each month in 2017; March was the peak month in the U.S., followed by September.  Counting job postings by U.S. region, employers posted the largest number in the Midwest region. 

Employers categorize their job postings on AgCareers.com by 42 different career types and 25 industry types.  The “Sales/Retail” career type moved to the number one spot for 2017 with 6,500-plus jobs, followed by “Farm & Ranch Operations/Herdsperson/On Farm” careers (more than 6,200 positions). 

When we look across all U.S. regions, employers posted the highest number of positions in the “Equipment, Manufacturing and Technical” industry type with 5,400 positions, followed by “Food & Beverage Products and Processing” and “Crop Production.”  AgCareers.com separates the “Animal Production” industry type into Beef, Dairy, Poultry, Swine and other.  When these animal production categories were added together, more than 7,500 jobs were posted in 2017.

Candidate trends

There is increased interest among candidates to pursue careers in agriculture and use AgCareers.com in the job search process.  More than 200,000 visits were made to the AgCareers.com site each month in 2017.  Candidates can search by keyword, location, industry, career type and more.  In 2017, the top three searched words on AgCareers.com were “Sales,” “Agronomy,” and “Internship.”

When we examined demographic information of applicants on AgCareers.com, we found that 63% of individuals had a bachelor’s degree or higher and 58% had an ag-based degree.  More than half of applicants were currently or most recently in an ag occupation, while 12% were students.  Those in non-ag occupations were typically in roles with transferable skills applicable to agriculture, such as skilled trades, sales, or customer service.  Illustrating the diverse array of applicants with experience, 34% had 10-plus years of experience. 

The Agribusiness Job Report contains information based on an analysis of jobs posted on AgCareers.com, job seeker activity on AgCareers.com, and insight from the employers using our services.  

Download your free copy of the full 2017 AgCareers.com U.S. Agribusiness Job Report here.  A separate Canadian edition is also available.  For more information contact agcareers@agcareers.com.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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