Mapping the workforce of Australian Agriculture – Current State and Future Requirements

RM Consulting Group Pty Ltd

  • Project code: PRO-017587

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Sunday, August 27, 2023

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

  • National Priority: WFP - Workforce Policy

Summary

This submission is prepared in response to a project brief from AgriFutures Australia to undertake phase one of mapping the workforce of Australian agriculture, including its current state and future requirements.

The project aims to improve the collection of workforce data for the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors (referred to as agriculture sectors throughout), enabling better-informed workforce strategic planning, policy development, research, and progress monitoring. 

The project will explore, further define, and provide an understanding of workforce characteristics, available data, and current data collection tools by:

  • Defining the character and developing a useful description of the agriculture sector’s workforce.
  • Identifying available data sources and the stakeholders who are collecting workforce data.
  • Identifying data collection tools and collection processes being used across the sectors.
  • Identifying data gaps and data needs of the major stakeholders.

Using this information, the project will then evaluate a selection of data collection tools, make recommendations to allow for coordinated data collection and develop a data collection concept to improve the collection of workforce data.

For this submission, RMCG has partnered with Deakin University’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures (CERRF), together, the team provides a comprehensive set of skills and experience to support the project.

We are able to deliver this project by March 2024 for a budget of $188,360 (excluding GST).

Program

Workforce Policy

Research Organisation

RM Consulting Group Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

The Australian agriculture industry is growing and has ambitious targets for the future, including the goal to reach $100 billion in production by 2030. It is recognised that to achieve these targets, the sector will need to continue to grow and skill its workforce.

At a recent forum of the Emerging National Rural Issues program, the theme ‘workforce’ was identified as a common challenge across rural industries.

A key difficulty in understanding the workforce needs of the agriculture sectors is the inconsistent and at times, inaccurate approach to characterising the workforce.  Add to this the variety of government, RDCs, industries and employers collecting data in different ways, and it is difficult to get a comprehensive picture of the current workforce, let alone plan for future needs, set targets or measure progress.

The overall project objective is to improve the collection of workforce data for the agriculture sectors, enabling better-informed workforce strategic planning, policy development, research, and progress monitoring.

Within this phase of the project, the objectives are to:

  • Create a clear description of the agriculture sector’s workforce that can be used to guide workforce data collection
  • Understand the workforce data gaps and needs of the major stakeholders
  • Evaluate a series of available workforce data collection tools to determine how they could support improved workforce data collection across the sector
  • Develop recommendations and data concepts that can be used to improve workforce data collection for the agricultural sectors.