Agricultural Employment’s COVID-19 Response
Straight from the Source
By Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com
The Coronovirus Pandemic is impacting life around the world, and likely for everyone reading this newsletter. Social distancing, remote work, isolation, virtual meetings, and new workplace precautions have become the norm. AgCareers.com wants to help employees, employers, and job seekers understand what is happening in the agricultural industry in response to COVID-19. Over the past week, we’ve surveyed employees and candidates to discover how COVID-19 affected their employment, and we’ve surveyed employers about how they’re preparing their workforce for the situation. Here’s what Americans are saying:
Job Seekers / Employees
AgCareers.com surveyed ag employees and candidates, with nearly 600 responses. Looking specifically at respondents in the United States, we asked if COVID-19 changed their current employment status. It was reassuring that 75% said there was no change at all. Respondents with 51 to 100 coworkers were most likely to say there was no change.
However, 25% of all employees had experienced change, from reduction in hours (8%), to layoffs
said their employment status was impacted by loss of sales commission, inability to work because of school closings, and uncertainty.
The good news for recruiters is that the pandemic is bringing new job seekers to the market; 21% of respondents said that since Coronavirus, they are now looking at job opportunities. This includes 14% who said they weren’t looking but are casually looking now to understand their options. Additionally, 7% weren’t looking, but are aggressively looking now to manage risk.
We asked employees to rate their employer for COVID-19 training and education provided in preparation and during the outbreak. Unfortunately, the largest segment of employees selected “Poor training.” Overall, 40% said their training was below average, 12% indicated it was average. On the positive side, 48% said their training was above average, including 12% of the overall respondents indicating training was excellent.
We also asked employees if their employer was ready to deal with COVID-19. Again, the largest segment said their employer was “not prepared at all.” Overall, 33% said their employer was below average in preparedness, 15% indicated average. However, 52% said their employer’s preparation was above average, including 13% of total respondents though their employer was fully prepared.
Employees expressed concern that their employment could suffer due to COVID-19; 25% were very concerned, although 20% were not concerned at all. Employees are more concerned their employer/business will suffer due to COVID-19. The largest segment (27%) of respondents said they were “very concerned” while only 9% were not concerned at all.
To discover the impact of the pandemic on the workplace, AgCareers.com asked employees if they were working at home because of the Coronavirus. Nearly one-third of respondents are now working from home due to COVID-19. More than 40% of employees said their role requires them to be at work and they couldn’t conduct their job remotely.See chart below for a full breakdown.
More than 200 ag employers responded to our survey. Looking specifically at the United States, 87% of employers have taken measures to communicate and inform employees about COVID-19. The majority (59%) had a business continuity plan in place to help reduce risks to the business.
Eighty-four percent of employers said their organization could accommodate work from home/remote work in some or all employees. Sixteen percent said employees were unable to work remotely. Production and Manufacturers were significantly less likely than Agribusinesses to say all employees could work remotely.
As expected, Operations (manufacturing/warehouse) positions were least likely to work from home. Production (barn/field) positions were also unlikely to allow remote work. Interestingly, 25% also said Sales/Customer Service positions were unable to work from home. Engineering, Marketing/Communications, and IT positions were most likely to allow remote work.
The most common way all ag employers are planning to provide coverage for sick or absent employees is to ask ‘well’ employees to cover. Thirty-five percent of employers said they were planning work rotation schedules to reduce exposure among staff with on and off schedules.
But there is good news for job seekers, as 81% of employers are continuing recruitment and hiring despite the pandemic. The majority of employers are keeping their recruitment activities the same as they planned/projected.
Discover more about agricultural employment at www.AgCareers.com.
Job Seekers: Click here to register and post/update your resume.
Employers: Click here to start your recruitment effort.