21 Aug 2013

Finding staff a challenge for primary sector

6:37 am on 21 August 2013

Finding the right people for the job is still a fundamental challenge for the primary sector, a report says.

KPMG has focused on people issues in the latest report from its annual Agribusiness Agenda.

KPMG agribusiness head Ian Proudfoot said it came as a surprise to hear from primary sector representatives that they are still grappling with the persistent perception that careers in agriculture are regarded as second-class jobs.

"It's not at the farming level, it's at all levels in the industry, so be that at the science part of the sector, where we obviously need innovation, in finding the right people to work in the corporate roles within processors and exporters, and at the farming level, there's challenges everywhere in the industry," Mr Proudfoot said.

"One is a lack of understanding about what a role in the primary has and a lack of appeal for the role, most probably linked to the fact that the sector was viewed as being a sunset industry for such a long time."

Everyone from schools to businesses needs to be doing more to break the old perception, he said.