Mapping the workforce of Australian agriculture

  • 88 pages

  • Published: 18 Jun 2024

  • Author(s): RM Consulting Group

  • ISBN: 978-1-76053-494-3

Share this content
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • email

Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries contribute significantly to the national economy, with gross production forecast to reach $90 billion in 2024-2025. The industries provide employment opportunities tailored to areas such as sustainability, technology and economic skillsets across rural, regional and metropolitan communities.

To support these industries in understanding their workforce requirements now and into the future, in addition to setting targets and measuring progress, consistent and accurate workforce data is needed. The Emerging National Rural Issues Forum identified that a common challenge faced by the industries is the varied data collection methods used across government bodies, Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, and employers.

This report, prepared by RM Consulting Group in collaboration with Deakin University’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, and in consultation with RDCs and government bodies such as ABARES and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, addresses objectives and strategies to enhance workforce data collection for Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, facilitating better strategic planning, policy development, research and progress monitoring.

The report outlines key objectives that will guide ongoing initiatives and actions across the industries to improve the collection, analysis and application of workforce-specific data: (1) Identifying gaps in current data and understanding the specific needs of major stakeholders; (2) Assessing various tools to determine their effectiveness in supporting improved data collection; and (3) Formulating recommendations and developing data concepts to enhance data collection.

The recommendations focus on monitoring and harnessing government-driven data improvements, sharing roadmaps for advancing agricultural workforce statistics, clarifying agency roles and priorities, streamlining access to integrated datasets, and aligning with national data governance standards. Additionally, the report emphasises communicating industry workforce data needs, collaborating to build data capability, and exploring industry-led workforce data collection.

The outcomes are intended to support policymakers, industry leaders, educational institutions and agricultural businesses in developing targeted strategies to strengthen the agricultural workforce. Enhanced data collection and understanding workforce dynamics will better equip us to navigate future challenges and ensure the continued growth and success of Australia’s rural industries.

The report is a critical step towards achieving a comprehensive understanding of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry workforce, which is essential for their sustainability and achievement of whole-of-industry goals.