In 2018 AgCareers.com conducted our initial U.S. Workplace Diversity Survey to better understand how the agriculture industry measured up in attracting and retaining employees of diversity. The survey results contained a wealth of valuable information an insight and demonstrated that even though we’ve outgrown stereotypes about the demographics of our workforce, there is certainly room for improvement as the agriculture industry strives to foster diverse workplaces.
Encouraging responses from the survey included over half of respondents indicating that their recruitment strategies are aimed at increasing the diversity represented in their organization. The number one reason organizations said they are intentional about recruiting diverse candidates, was to build an environment of different perspectives and experiences. One employer commented, “…we are finding the more diverse our workforce, the better the business decisions and results.”
At AgCareers.com we recognize that as agriculture itself has diversified, so has its workforce. In response, we conducted the Workplace Diversity Survey to capture employer’s efforts to address diversity within their organizations. While there’s a lot of talk about workplace diversity, we wanted data to back up the statement that the agriculture industry generally embraces and supports diversity in the workplace.
A key takeaway was that no longer is there a typical employee in agriculture; rather we’ve outgrown stereotypes about the demographics of our industry
Eighty-two organizations across a variety of agriculture sectors in 28 states participated in the survey. The survey asked respondents about the diverse talent represented within their organizations and the results (illustrated in Figure 1) are encouraging. In fact, 83% of respondents included females. This was followed by 67% of respondents reporting that more than one race is represented by their employees. Twenty-five percent of organizations report their employees are representative of all seven demographics listed.
At AgCareers.com we recognize that as agriculture itself has diversified, so has its workforce. In response, we conducted a survey to capture employer’s efforts to address diversity within their organizations. The results of the Workplace Diversity Survey-2018 U.S. Edition shares details on the current state of workplace diversity in agriculture.
While the survey results contain a wealth of valuable information and insight, there were a few key findings that really stood out.
● Females are represented as diverse talent at 83% of organizations.
● 67% of organizations reported more than one race is represented by their employees.
Ag employers tell us that technical and hourly roles are the most difficult to recruit for (2017-2018 U.S. Agribusiness HR Review). The disproportionally large segment of baby boomers employed in skilled trade roles and their impending retirement, adds to the expected workforce shortage in the coming years (Forbes.com). What may be a struggle for employers is good news for candidates that don’t have a bachelor’s or advanced degree. This dilemma for employers can also be a catalyst for youth career planning.
For years parents and counselors have encouraged youth to get a university degree, but this may be changing as we recognize the worker shortage and career potential in skilled trades. Apprenticeships, certification training and two-year degrees provide a low-cost education alternative that teaches career ready skills.
Many employers appear to have flexibility in hiring the best fitting candidate without adhering to a strict education requirement. Nearly 30% of all jobs posted on AgCareers.com in 2017 did not list a specific minimum education level.
We hear a lot about women in ag. There’s everything from Facebook groups, conferences, t-shirts and television shows promoting this demographic. Even the U.S. Bureau of Labor has weighed in on the subject, reporting that women are substantially underrepresented in the agriculture industry.
A 2015 survey conducted by AgCareers.com reinforced the Bureau’s findings, as well as uncovered additional perceptions and realities as they apply to women in agribusiness. 79% of women in ag surveyed felt there was gender inequality in agribusiness. Half of women surveyed said they had experienced blunt sexism or discrimination based on their gender in the workplace. These responses make it clear that employers have a lot of work to do to ensure women are represented and valued in the workplace.
An encouraging data point from the survey was that 80% of both men and women felt that the attitude toward women in agribusiness had changed for the better in the past decade. Add to this the fact that several colleges of agriculture are seeing the scales tip in their student demographics, enrolling more females than males in their undergraduate programs.
“Overqualified.” This is a term that everyone has heard of, but is it something that HR even considers these days? Unfortunately, no, but maybe it is time to look at so-called overqualified people in a different way. There are many reasons why a person with a lot of experience and/or qualifications might apply for a job that they appear overqualified for:
– Changing careers
– After a lay-off
– After completing a contract position
In these situations, job seekers may be fearful that they are taking a step down in their career path, earning less money, and could be bored with reduced responsibilities. For these reasons, many HR professionals choose to not consider these candidates, expecting turnover. However, many HR professionals are now looking at this differently: either you are qualified, or you are not.
It’s becoming more difficult than ever to interact with others without someone diverting their attention to their phone to scroll through social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or another site, generations across the board are increasingly engaged on at least one social media platform. However, social media has long outgrown its roots as a place to connect with high school classmates and post pictures of grandchildren. Increasingly users are relying on social media to job search. Job seekers can gain a lot of insight about company culture from the organizations social media presence, and understanding how different generations are using social media during the job search process can help companies leverage their posts and platforms in a meaningful way.
Regardless of what generation is interacting with your organization via social media the key is authenticity in representing your company and its culture. Don’t try to be something you’re not to attract a certain audience.
It’s no secret that the relationship between agricultural employers and military professionals and veterans could improve. AgCareers.com is continually working toward that with our Ag Warriors program and committed Ag Warrior employers. We also look forward to holding our first Military Virtual Career Fair on November 9 and invite all employers to attend to converse with and recruit military veterans and professionals. In the meantime, a look at AgCareers.com’s 2016 survey “Veterans and Military Professionals in the Agricultural Workforce” reveals interesting findings that agricultural employers may take into consideration to attract military talent.
Sometimes you want to be the company everyone is talking about, sometimes you don’t, but if you are hoping to build your workforce with the best and brightest – you do! Especially when the venue is college campuses during recruiting season and the chatter is positive! Working a career fair booth and seeing a line of students who want to talk to your company representatives can be a warm and fuzzy moment for anyone who works in recruiting, however, that line doesn’t form overnight. Building a strong campus brand takes time, creativity, some financial investment, and more time. Then there is maintenance, but that is an entirely different post! Here are 5 ideas to help your company begin the process of building an on-campus brand.
Guest Blogger: Megan Karlin, Agriculture Future of America Marketing & Communications Manager
When it comes to whether or not your company should invest in Agriculture Future of America, I definitely have a biased opinion. However, when it comes to making the most of your relationship with us, I have the inside scoop.
For very nearly five years, I’ve immersed myself in listening to and telling AFA’s story. I’ve interviewed partners, participants and anyone else who would give me a few minutes. I’ve seen what works and what does not.
As I said, I’m biased when it comes to the question of financial investment; so, for the remainder of my time with you, let’s assume you do. That’s the first thing I would tell you. When you partner with AFA, you have a stake in the game. You’re committed to pursuing the opportunities I’ve outlined below. The first, of which, is to connect with our students.