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Ag jobs bounced back in 2021

Getty/iStockphoto job search button on keyboard
Strong hiring numbers reflect post-COVID uptick for farm-related jobs.

The past two years have seen big volatility in global employment, and agriculture is no exception. AgCareers.com annually analyzes job and candidate trends in the Agriculture Job Report.

Looking at nationwide employment, the 2021 United States unemployment rate dropped significantly, illustrating the rebound after COVID. The average monthly unemployment was 5.37%, compared to the COVID-affected average of 8.11% in 2020.

In its annual Agriculture Job Report, AgCareers.com found the ag industry had strong hiring numbers in 2021 with an increase of nearly 30% in jobs posted at AgCareers.com.

Candidate trends

Search activity and applicant behavior at AgCareers.com help track job seeker trends in agriculture. Candidates search for jobs on AgCareers.com with a variety of methods, with keywords being the simplest. Job seekers’ top 2021 job search words were:

  1. Sales
  2. Remote
  3. Intern
  4. Internship
  5. Agronomy

Searches for “remote” jobs jumped into the second position, a response to the pandemic’s influence on work-from-home availability, needs, and job seeker expectations. Although many production operations cannot offer a work-from-home scenario, it’s important to acknowledge the trends in job seeker behavior.

Nearly half of all applicants using AgCareers.com had a bachelor’s degree, while 15% had an associate’s diploma or skilled trade certificate, and almost 20% had a high school diploma as their highest education level. Over one-third of all jobs posted on AgCareers.com did not list a minimum education level; unspecified positions accept a range of educational levels based on experience, indicating employers’ flexibility in hiring. However, employers report in the HR Review that their greatest need is for employees with a high school diploma, followed by a bachelor’s degree.

AgCareers.com has qualified job candidate traffic throughout the United States; however, looking at states individually, Texas, California and Illinois had the most applications.

Job trends

Focusing regionally in the U.S., the Midwest’s strong agricultural job market is evident, with 58% of total jobs posted in the United States. Narrowing in on specific states, Nebraska jumped into the top job posting spot, followed by Iowa and California. 

Sales/retail careers continued as the most frequently posted career type, followed by farm and ranch operations/herdsperson/on farm jobs. Risk management, customer support, communications and skilled trade careers experienced the largest percentage increase in the past year.

“Input Retail, Cooperative and Related Crop Services” was the top industry sector for jobs posted in 2021, leading regionally in the Midwest and West. Explore more industry sectors, regional trends and candidate data in the full 2021 U.S. Agribusiness Job Report — download a copy at www.AgCareers.com under market research.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

 

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