Farm manager. Environmental manager. Agricultural consultant. Agricultural scientist. Winemaker. Agricultural engineer. These are all agricultural jobs that featured in the Highest Demand division of the National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018.
Based on the experience of Marianne van der Laarse, managing director of Agrijob Recruitment Specialists, there is also a shortage of qualified horticulturists, agronomists, entomologists and soil scientists in the fruit, vegetable and grain industries, particularly in the 30to 40-year-old age category, which she labels as the “golden age”.
“Thirty- to 40-year-olds are in high demand, because many agricultural businesses look for people they can nurture to replace their ageing board of directors and managers,” she says.
Van der Laarse blames negative perceptions of career prospects, earning potential, and the agricultural work environment for the situation.
• There is a major shortage of skills in many agricultural disciplines.
• Despite this, newly minted graduates often battle to find work, as potential employers expect them to have some practical experience in the field.
• Agricultural recruitment specialist Marianne van der Laarse says tertiary institutions and companies should help youngsters gain practical experience.
“The number of students studying in agriculture-related fields has increased internationally due to agriculture enjoying a better profile, thanks to the development of new technologies and growing concern over food security. [But] the trend is picking up more slowly in South Africa due to negative stigmas, resulting in many South Africans still discouraging their children from pursuing an agriculture-related career.”
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March 27, 2020