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Recruitment in our sector: let's get creative

If the food and fibre sector in NZ is to thrive we need to find good quality labour; we know this continues to be a challenge – not just for our sector, but for all sectors – so to do this we need to start getting creative.  Revised systems and processes, different job design and different management practices can help us access new labour markets and get good team members into our food & fibre sector businesses.

So what are these opportunities…they are limited by our imaginations and the effort we want to put in to making them real…how about:

  • shift-work (maybe two-milking shifts with full time staff taking the other roles on farm)

  • across industry job sharing (we do this from time to time in our business when we have some members of our dairy recruitment team working eight or nine months of the year for us and working in their own dairy farming businesses during the calving season)

  • flexible working arrangements (work when you set a month in advance with the employer backing themselves to fill any gaps)

  • capitalising on the backpacker and short-term market….here’s how they are marketed too at the moment…

  • job share with your neighbour – instead of working yourself to the bone, how about sharing an employee with your neighbour – could that work?

  • look for a student….every year loads of Y13 students leave school and every year it gets harder for them to find work….80% of jobs found by these young people are through friends and family…can you be the person that gives them a chance?  What would you need to do to make a job in your business attractive to them?

What else – share your stories with us and let us know of any ideas you have…this is a food and fibre sector problem that we need to get creative with the solutions.   And remember, any new solution is going to require you to think differently, change some things and invest your time and energy to make it work….we think the wins will be worth it.