The agriculture industry has been an integral part of the UK economy and employed over 470,000 people in 2020 alone. However, the sector is diverse, with a unique set of job types and responsibilities for people working within it.
While every person contributes to the overall productivity, some jobs are more lucrative and thus, more sought after. If you are considering a career in agriculture and farming and considering your study / university path, this article will help you to find out which jobs are the highest in demand and why.
Based on the description, trends, and preferences, you can decide how specialised your degree is and which jobs you want to opt for.
Changes in Agriculture and Farming over the Years
To understand why job trends incline one way or the other, we need to look at the industry’s changes. Agriculture has transformed extensively since the 1950s and continues to keep changing and evolving. Out of all the changes, the following have been the most prominent:
1. Farms and farming fields are larger now compared to before.
2. Greater reliance on machinery for some of the most labour-intensive tasks.
3. Fewer farmers per unit area on the field due to technological integration.
4. Increase in usage of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.
5. Greater yields per farming area.
6. Introduction of industrial farming and its applications for livestock management.
The above changes have led to the emergence of several new jobs to accommodate the developments. Examples of this include Farm managers to manage the budgeting, coordination, vendor relations, etc., and agricultural engineers who continue to work on machinery development to optimise operations further.
While the industry is currently far more developed than it used to be, the change process is ongoing. The recent focus on climate change is especially driving scientists to work on ways to change agriculture to reduce the amount of GHG it produces.
Some of the changes have led to the emergence of vertical farming, regenerative agriculture and other eco-friendly options to make the industry more sustainable in the future. These changes, in turn, are affecting the job market as well.
The Most Sought-After Agricultural and Farming Jobs
Based on the industry trends and the market movements, the following jobs are gaining higher traction;
1. Agricultural Operations Manager
As an agricultural operations manager, you’ll be responsible for planning and managing the procurement and logistics for farming and livestock. The scope will include managing feed mills, grain elevators, greenhouse, etc.
The key goal is to ensure the supply chain is optimised and all production divisions run smoothly. While agriculture operations management is demanding, it also pays well, hence the reason for its popularity.
Given the modern trends, it is also directly affected, with operations managers seeking innovative logistical and operational solutions to make the industry more sustainable.
2. Pest Control Manager
Pest control management is vital due to the specialised knowledge required to perform it properly. However, its focus has shifted slightly in recent years, especially with the emergence of and demand for organic farming.
Pest types differ across seasons, and a pest control manager must know what deterrent works for each type. Additionally, the current experts in the field have to take their specialisation further and rely on the development of natural pesticides that farmers can use for organic products.
Due to the demand for more specialised knowledge, the job compensation has increased, making this job lucrative and popular.
Agronomists are scientists who research crops, soil health, environment and study ways to improve the overall production process to increase the overall productivity of farmland. Aside from being sought-after due to the higher benefits, agronomists are also in demand from an environmental perspective.
Governments are moving towards including sustainability in all industries and agriculture is no exception. Given this focus, there is a demand for agronomists because their job role best fits the need. Agronomists now need to work on research and work on a solution that improves productivity without burdening the environment.
Naturally, there is also an integration of expertise and multiple specialists now have to work together to create solutions that can achieve the intended goal.
4. Agricultural Engineer
With machinery playing an essential part on farmlands, as well as the increased variety of machinery available to reduce labour intensive tasks, agricultural engineering has increased greater focus. Although the field has been receiving continuous improvement over the years, technology has been moving at a faster rate, leaving ample room for innovation.
This gap has attracted talented individuals who wish to use their expertise to develop new machinery that bridges the distance and makes operations more efficient and optimised.
5. Farm Manager
Finally, the farm manager position remains high in demand for several reasons, most of which are not directly related to the market trends. Farm managers handle a wide range of responsibilities that involve finance, marketing, communication, etc.
Whilst it takes experience and talent to reach this position, putting the effort in pays off. Aside from being a well-paid position, farm management also opens opportunities for individuals to expand into other specialisms.
For example, most agricultural consultants need to know about overall farm management to succeed in their field. Furthermore, farm managers can also delve into estate management or farm trading since part of their work brushes upon both subjects.
This versatility makes farm management significantly sought after.
To conclude, agricultural and farming jobs have been affected by industrial, technology and market trends to a great extent, and the current ones are affecting the application process.
In addition to the inclination to opt for specialised job roles, another curious trend emerged in COVID-19’s wake. With the pandemic causing lasting economic impact and dispersing people, there is a sudden increase in applications for seasonal farming positions like crop pickers.
It is an interesting change that will help cover the sudden drop in farmworkers due to Brexit.
Applying for Agricultural and Farming Jobs
If you are a fresh graduate or are looking for agricultural or farming jobs in general, you should head over to our website to see our latest positions and apply. We specialise in recruitment and headhunting for the agricultural, farming, food and horticultural industry. It's our aim to find you the perfect job.
Alternatively, if you are looking for new employees for your organisation, we can help. Please see the client services that we can offer you here. It's our aim to find you the perfect candidate.