There’s a global shortage of agricultural workers, from manual labor roles to science and engineering-focused agricultural tech work, and Canada is no different.
Everything from agronomists, or experts in soil management and crop production, to veterinarians are needed in Canada and it’s a long-standing need. Pre-COVID-19 studies showed that primary agriculture experienced a labor shortage of 63,000 positions in 2018, giving it the highest job vacancy rate of any Canadian industry at 5.4 percent. The shortage has been predicted to increase to 123,000 by 2029.
Farming encompasses a large variety of roles, including ones with low or no entry requirements and those that require advanced degrees. Based on 2,800 salaries listed, Indeed Canada pegs the average salary for a farmworker at $15.25 an hour, which works out to $31,720 a year. An agronomist can expect to make an annual average of $59,996 while agricultural engineers will earn more than $100,000.
A comprehensive list of roles, their requirements and prerequisites in primary agriculture can be found on the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council’s website. It breaks down the labourer, manager and owner hierarchy in various sub-sectors, including aquaculture, poultry and eggs, cattle, field fruit and vegetables, as well as roles in greenhouses and nurseries.
Beyond that, Jennifer Wright, the council’s acting executive director, said the industry has been increasingly reaching out to those in non-agricultural educational and career streams.
“We’re hoping to connect them with work experience and experiential learning opportunities so that they can see where their technology degree or their environmental science degree or their software engineering degree could really be put to good use within the agriculture industry,” she said.
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