How millennials are changing industries - and what it means for farming

Written by
Danusia Osiowy

01 Feb 2019

01 Feb 2019 • by Danusia Osiowy

In the second article of our #ThisIsAgriculture campaign, Danusia Osiowy takes a closer look at one of the most significant cultural changes facing all current employers looking to recruit and retain the best in the business.

Can you spot a millennial from a Gen Z? A Baby Boomer from a Traditionalist? Haven’t a clue or care about any of it? Herewith lies the problem.

There has been a significant cultural shift across the generations within the global employment landscape and agriculture is no different.

Individuals entering any industry today have requirements, ambitions and expectations, and if our industry wants to recruit the best new blood and prevent current employees from jumping ship, understanding and reacting to those needs is vital.

At the heart of this change is the emergence of two particularly strong generational identities referred to as either a ‘millennial’ or ‘Generation Z’.

And while the two have become buzzwords with business researchers and the media worldwide, how many of us in agriculture really understand what either is and why it even matters?

The challenge of recruiting into the agricultural industry is not a new one.

In fact, many sectors are fighting the same battle over how to attract, engage and retain the brightest individuals on the market.

If agriculture wants its talent and expertise to thrive, harnessing the right people in the right way is crucial, as is understanding their professional wants and needs.

The main challenges surrounding recruitment into agriculture is sourcing labour, finding those with the appropriate skills and the right mindset.

John Tanner, founder and principal consultant of Business Consulting Solutions, says: “Each generation comes with its own values and perspective of the world based on their life experiences.

“They are shaped by their year of birth, age and critical events that occurred in society, and these differences give each generation unique work values and work ethics and preferred ways of managing and being managed.”

Cultural shift

In a report published last year, KPMG highlighted companies needed to better their efforts in understanding the current workforce demographic if they are to recruit and retain the best.

The one-size-fits-all approach simply does not exist anymore, explains Sitara Kurian, the report’s lead author and KPMG’s management consultant.