According to the last CENSUS, Queensland agriculture’s workforce is growing and getting younger. The number of people working in the sector increased by 9 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
The majority of agricultural employees live in rural and regional areas of Queensland. In 2016, more than 81 per cent of agriculture industry employees lived outside greater Brisbane. The percentage of people living in greater Brisbane increased by 4 per cent to 16 per cent.
A greater proportion of Queensland agriculture sector employees worked full time (71 per cent), compared with the general Australian workforce (65 per cent). While 30 per cent of the workforce owned or managed an enterprise.
The proportion of people under 35 working in Queensland in agriculture is increasing. While those working in agriculture were older on average than the general workforce, the proportion of workers under the age of 35 rose over the past five years to 29 per cent in 2016, up 3 percent from 2011. Of those young people, 35 per cent are women, up 3 per cent from 2011.
There is also an emerging trend of young people working in agriculture attaining a non-school certificate level or higher qualifications, with the proportion rising by 6 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
Most young agricultural employees work as labourers (54 percent), or managers (22 per cent). Many of them work for the fruit and tree nut; mushroom and vegetable; and sheep, beef cattle and grain farming industries.
These insights highlight the importance of understanding how our agricultural workforce is evolving, and ensuring the younger generation of workers meet the current and future needs of the sector. The Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA) is committed to ensuring the Queensland agriculture sector has the skilled and sustainable workforce needed for a growing and prosperous future.