Future Workforce Skills Needs in Queensland Agriculture

Dr Diana Saunders, Policy Advisor for Queensland Farmers Federation will be at this year’s National Employment Solutions Conference, presenting “Future workforce skills needs in Queensland agriculture”.

While the value of Queensland agriculture has continued to surge, the overall level of employment within the sector has weakened. There are some notable industry exceptions ‘ for example, the level of employment in the mushroom and vegetable industry in Queensland increased by 69 per cent. At the same time, there has been increasing demand for university graduates in the service industries reflecting the need for new and sophisticated skills.

Future Workforce Skills Needs in Queensland Agriculture
Diana Saunders

The state’s agricultural workforce is undergoing a sizable shift in required roles. Automation and technology continue to affect agriculture, and new jobs that require workforce skills not traditionally linked to farming are increasingly in demand such as engineers, data analysts, and business support services.

This paper explores how the jobs and the level of skills needed to perform in agriculture can potentially change due to technology in selected case studies. It assesses the issue of potential skills mismatch across three intensive agricultural industries. The study provides an in-depth analysis of the roles within highly innovative farms. The approach involved: identifying the current roles and occupations within these firms and the tasks currently undertaken; consult technical experts or researchers on the impact of emerging technologies on farms and on the current tasks; and as a result skills sets and critical occupations for the future were identified.

This paper provides an in-depth insight into the level of skills that would be needed as a result of possible technology changes. It explored the level of skills that current employers have and the impact that technology is likely to have in the tasks they perform. Technology will change the skills needed in agriculture. Low-skilled labour and manual jobs will be likely to decrease as technologies replace the need for some of these roles and new skills will be required for careers in agriculture. The industry requires more professional and technical roles in the response to deeper knowledge and higher level of skills.

This study has identified the potential gaps in the current workforce skills sets needed to perform the roles required in the future. The challenge for the sector is to ensure we get the right policy settings, and education and training providers that allow us to build a workforce that sustains changes into the future.

The 2017 National Employment Solutions Conference will be held at Mantra Legends on the Gold Coast from Thursday the 16th to Friday the 17th of November 2017.  It will be a platform for policy makers, academics, employers, human resource managers, recruitment services, association and “not-for-profit” representatives.

Secure your seat for the Conference here!