Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey

AN annual Human Resources (HR) survey of agribusinesses has shown agriculture is well-placed despite COVID-19 challenges.
Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey Agribusinesses coping well with COVID, according to survey

The agribusiness workforce has been resilient during the COVID pandemic. Picture Mark Saunders.

Mark Saunders

Rimfire Resources' 2021 Agribusiness HR Review revealed that overwhelmingly, the outlook for the agricultural industry remains positive.

Nigel Crawley, director of Rimfire Resources, said the release of the Agribusiness HR Review again has highlighted both the resilience of agribusiness as a sector compared to other sectors from a productivity perspective, but also the strong competition for talent, with the farm production and machinery sector no different.

"Like all industries, COVID - 19 has had an effect on how the industry does business, however most businesses surveyed are not reporting significant impacts on revenue," Crawley said.

"In 2021, COVID-19 has not affected the revenue outlook for 71 per cent of agribusiness, up from 59.1 per cent in 2020. Furthermore, 13.7 per cent have indicated revenues in their organisation are likely to increase," he said.

Now in its 19th year, the HR Review is Australia's only agribusiness-specific human resource and workforce trends report. The Agribusiness HR Review results are derived directly from workforce data with input from more than 130 Australian agribusiness organisations.

The Review revealed more than 90 per cent of agribusinesses have been able to avoid making any redundancies as a result of the pandemic, and additionally more than 90 per cent have also been able to avoid reducing employee hours.

"Overwhelmingly agribusinesses indicated their employees are continuing to work effectively from home with over 50 per cent indicating that moving forward, they will integrate new flexible arrangements which combine working from home and working from an office location," Crawley said.

Rimfire Resources will be conducting a follow up survey at the end of 2021 which will address the specifics of employee effectiveness and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workplace behaviour and the challenge of managing and accommodating employee flexibility.

Job advertisement numbers within agribusiness, as tracked through the Rural Jobs Index (RJI) have increased significantly within the last 12 months.

In July 2021, the RJI recorded the largest number of online job advertisements in a single month since commencing the monthly tally in 2007, beating previous records set in March, February, and January of 2021.

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