Many agriculture workers ‘holding out for redundancy’

Nearly two-thirds of agricultural workers are holding out for redundancy before switching careers, a new study has suggested.

The findings of the survey of 1,000 employees, by training provider Learning People, make for sobering reading for the agricultural sector, which is already struggling to recruit new blood at a time when Brexit has exacerbated labour shortages.

The survey targeted industries that were finding it tougher to recruit, namely admin and secretarial roles, agriculture, machine operatives and customer service staff, among others. Across all sectors, some 34 per cent said they were looking for a redundancy pay off before making a move, with that figure rising to 58 per cent for agriculture.

In agriculture specifically, 60 per cent of workers, when asked to reflect on the past five years, complained of shrinking teams and increased workloads, while 54 per cent spoke of pay freezes and 46 per cent said redundancies had become commonplace. Young people tended to paint a bleaker picture than their older colleagues.

Asked what they would spend their redundancy money on, home renovations came out number one, ahead of a holiday and moving house.

“Ten years on from the financial crisis many employers are still in a cycle of redundancies, especially those adapting to automation,” said Mike Appleby, head of global talent community at Learning People. He added that employees should work on updating their skills in their present job and establish what they are passionate about.

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