Record demand for agricultural roles in drive to feed nation

British farming could be set to receive a huge labour boost in its drive to feed the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new employment figures.

With the jobs market undergoing a dramatic shift, Totaljobs has reported a record demand for agricultural roles, as thousands of displaced workers look for jobs that can help keep the country fed.

The employment website has seen an 83% increase in applications for farming roles in the past month.

See also: Coronavirus: How to find seasonal work on farms

It has also reported increases in searches for terms such as “fruit picker” (338% increase), “farm worker” (107%) and more generally, “farm” (130%) and “agriculture” (66%).

The Country Land and Business Association suggests up to 80,000 workers will be needed over the coming months, largely due to coronavirus restrictions preventing people from overseas coming to work on UK farms and temporary staff falling ill from Covid-19.

‘Tremendous attitude’

Mark Bridgeman, president of the Country Land and Business Association, said the figures demonstrate a “tremendous ‘can-do’ attitude” in the face of the extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Tens of thousands of people are coming forward to help farmers feed the nation. Make no mistake, we still need many more to do the same.

“We all know this is a deeply concerning period and we are all determined to do all we can to help the country through it. In order to do so, we must recognise that farmers’ supply of labour is in jeopardy.”

Wider employment trend

Totaljobs’ Steve Warnham said the increased interest in farming and agricultural roles reflected a wider trend that the employment firm was seeing across other essential industries such as logistics, healthcare and security.

It comes as the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) announced a 16-week partnership with job recruitment apps Placed and SonicJobs.

The collaboration will share job opportunities across the food and drink industry, specifically in distribution warehouses, driving and logistics.

Nicki Hunt, director of membership and commercial engagement at the FDF, said: “The food and drink supply chain employs so many talented people, the hidden heroes who keep the country fed, and during challenging times such as these, it’s important we can support one another in whatever way possible.”

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