Staff recruitment can be a real headache. Most employers in agriculture agree there is a shortage of experienced workers, so finding and retaining the right staff has never been more important.

While there will always be young people who are desperate to get into the farming industry, the general trend is that the agricultural workforce is ageing. Agricultural employers are also finding themselves in stiff competition with other sectors to recruit the brightest and the best.

So how can farm businesses give themselves the best opportunity of recruiting people with the right attitude, qualifications and experience to match? What do you need to do beyond placing an advertisement for the job role in question?

Present your business positively

A recent article for Farmers Weekly advised that all employers should have a company mission statement, together with company values and ethics, so potential employees know what the business is about. It helps present a farm business as progressive and professional, and somewhere people would like to work.

“If you don’t know what your company is about, what it stands for and why it is in business, then you can’t expect your staff to know. Be clear about the markets you are serving, the benefits you offer and how you meet your customers’ requirements,” said the article.

Put requirements down on paper

A well-written job advertisement is crucial, but it can also be a good discipline to write a job description at the same time. The process of putting down on paper exactly what tasks you want performing, and how results will be assessed, should help you through the recruitment process and make it clear what attributes are essential and what are merely preferable.


Make sure you schedule enough time for the interview – rush it and you will be shortchanging yourself, as well as the person you are interviewing.

It is also advisable to get someone else along that you trust to help you during the process. Not only will they come up with questions you might not have thought about, but it will also give you a valuable second opinion on a potential employee.

Think about motivations

Surveys consistently show that money is not at the top of the list of what motivates workers. People want to be paid well, but they also want to be appreciated and given the opportunity to grow. Achievement, recognition and work satisfaction tend to be much more important than pay levels, when it comes to motivating staff.

The ability to advance within a business can be another key driver for people, so offering training opportunities and a development framework might be another way to attract the right people.

Read more tips on How to recruit the best arable farm staff.

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