This section focuses on the employment levels of the major occupations within the Agriculture sector, including employment by age, gender and qualification levels. It also includes information about current levels of job vacancies and the degree to which the occupations are likely to be in demand in the future.
Around 77,100 people are employed in the Victorian Agriculture sector, with 82 per cent of Agriculture workforce is within Regional Victoria, and this sector is of much greater importance than average to the Hume region where it makes up 11 per cent of overall employment. The Melbourne Metropolitan area accounts for the largest proportion of employment in the Mushroom and Vegetable Growing, Fruit and Tree Nut Growing, Poultry and Agricultural and Fishing Services sector employment. Dairy Cattle Farming is most prevalent in Barwon South West, Hume and Gippsland, while Hume has the highest proportion of Other Livestock Farming
In 2012, 36 per cent of Victoria’s Agriculture workforce was aged 55 or above, compared to an ‘all industry’ average of 17 per cent; while the two large employing sub-sectors Sheep, Beef and Grain Farming and Dairy Cattle Farming both have over 40 per cent of their workforce aged 55+. The ageing workforce of the sector has been identified as a significant issue, which is undermining some of the industry’s most critical occupations
Taking both employment growth and replacement demand into account, it is estimated that the sector will require an average of around 4,000 new jobs per year, to 2016-17 across Victoria. Livestock Farmers, Crop Farmers, Livestock Farm Workers and Crop Farm Workers account for two-thirds of this figure
The qualifications profile of workers in the sector is lower than average, with 55 per cent having no post-school qualifications (the average across all industries is 37 per cent)
The main barriers to successful recruitment of staff into the industry are considered to be industry attractiveness, competition from other industries and locating staff with the right skills (quoted by 83 per cent and 81 per cent respectively)
In 2011-12, it was estimated that the Agriculture sector across Victoria employed around 77,100 people – 3 per cent of employment across the State, and 24 per cent of Australia’s total Agriculture-related workforce. Figure 3.1 highlights the employment breakdown at the detailed sub-sector level.
Figure 3.1: Employment levels within the Victorian Agriculture sector, 2011-12
Employment in ‘000s workers
0 0.2 0.2 0.1
Source: Monash Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS), employment forecasts, June 2012. Figures show ‘000s of workers.
Between 2005-06 and 2011-12, it is estimated that employment across the sector increased by around 5,100 workers. Forecasts to 2016-17 currently suggest fairly static employment levels that may experience only a small increase.
Labour market characteristics
Employment by age
On average across the Agriculture sector as a whole, 36 per cent of the workforce is aged 55+, compared to 17 per cent across all industries; and across all sub-sectors of the Agriculture sector, the age profile of the workforce is older than the average across all industries.
In particular, in the Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain, Dairy Cattle, Mushroom and Vegetable and Fruit and Tree Nut Growing sectors, the age profile is significantly skewed towards 55+ - these are also the sectors with the largest workforces (see Figure 3.2).
Figure 3.2: Age profile of Victoria’s Agriculture sector workforce, compared to the average across all industries, 2011-12
26 28 21
19 16 21
9 15 16 14
Source: Monash Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS), employment forecasts, June 2012.
At the younger end of the scale, there are far fewer workers aged 15-24 entering the sector. Combined with the low appeal of agriculture among young people and challenges of succession planning on family farms, Victoria’s regions are experiencing low population growth, and this, combined with an ageing regional population, may exacerbate skills and labour shortages for the Agriculture sector, given that employers will have to compete with other sectors for a shrinking pool of younger workforce entrants.
Employment by gender
Across Victoria, 68 per cent of the Agriculture workforce is male, compared to an average of 54 per cent across all industries.
At the sub-sector level, the workforce of the Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Farming industry has the lowest proportion of females (29 per cent), while the Other Livestock sub-sector has the highest proportion, at 37 per cent.
Figure 3.3: Gender profile of workers in Agriculture occupations in Victoria, 2011-12
29 34 36 37
63 68 68
Source: Monash Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS), employment forecasts, June 2012 for gender split.
Employment by qualification level
On average, 55 per cent of the Victorian Agriculture sector’s workforce has no post-school qualifications, compared to 37 per cent across all industries. At the sub-sector level, this rises to 58 per cent in Fruit and Tree Nut Growing, and drops to 48 per cent in Agriculture and Fishing Support Services.
At the other end of the scale, just 11 per cent of the Victorian Agriculture workforce are qualified to Degree or above, compared to 29 per cent on average across all industries. Only the Agriculture and Fishing Support sector has a significantly different profile, with 17 per cent of workers qualified to Degree or higher.
Figure 3.4: Highest level of qualification of the Victorian Agriculture workforce, 2011-12
13 17 11
9 9 29
18 19 10
53 48 55
Other Livestock Farming
Agriculture, Fishingn Support
Degree or above
Certificate III or IV
Certificate I or II No post school quals