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2016-2017 AGRIBUSINESS HR REVIEW - Report Released




2016-2017 AGRIBUSINESS HR REVIEW – Report Released


The AGRIBUSINESS HR REVIEW survey, conducted by, highlights various strategies utilized in both large and small ag businesses alike to win talent. Employee referrals and networks continue to be the top method of attracting prospective applicants in the U.S. (over 76%) and Canada (74%), commonly followed by social media, corporate websites, and the use of industry specific job board (i.e. Additional methods that are notable but unique to each country include college/university recruiting and general online job boards. The use of social networks or social media to support recruitment efforts continues to increase in the U.S. and Canada. The majority of agribusinesses in North America are now using social media and social networks for recruitment (the U.S. alone was over 72%). The number could easily be as high as 86% in the coming year, based on the projection of those planning to begin using these outlets. The top social media sites each country utilized were Facebook (U.S) and LinkedIn (Canada).

Nearly 45% of U.S. ag companies and more than 68% of Canadian ag companies expect their workforce to increase in size within the next two years, according to the recently released Agribusiness HR Review. Roughly 45% of agribusiness companies plan to do more graduate recruitment in the next 1 to 5 years. This push for new graduate hiring was largely driven by the competition for talent in addition to career progression and succession planning. also learned 49% of U.S. agribusinesses attracted new graduates through their formal internship program while another 38% utilized student work experience. Somewhat similar to Canada, a combined 57% offered either a formal internship program (24%) or student work experience (general/seasonal labor) (33%). Canadian agribusinesses also utilized on-campus recruiting at colleges and universities, 28%.

Offering better benefits and higher compensation remained as the two prominent strategies for competing against other employers. Nearly half of survey participants performed a compensation market study within the past year. Another trend that emerged was the increased use of performance rewards to retain top employees, 73%. In the last three years, employee retention was a notable objective but has historically ranked third or fourth among response options. While more companies are using performance rewards to retain top talent, fewer employers are paying bonuses to most their employees. Thirty-five percent of companies indicated that more than 90% of all employees received a bonus in the last financial year. A drop from 2015, when 45% companies estimated that more than 90% of employees received a bonus in the last financial year. The percentage in 2014 for the same stat was 40% of companies. Ag companies appear to be taking a closer and greater look at performance rewards for top performers.

Roughly 87% or more companies reported that salaries had increased during the past twelve months. In addition, the majority of North American ag companies said some or all staff are likely to see increases in the coming year, (95% in the U.S. and 81% in Canada). Ag employers will look to continue to engage and motivate employees through a variety of ways including compensation, benefits, training and development, promotion, flexibility and beyond to retain high performers.

Want to know more about what other ag companies are doing to engage, retain and recruit? Find out in the full Agribusiness HR Review report:

  • Budgeted salary increases
  • Performance reward systems
  • Training and development programs
  • Sources for compensation data for benchmarking in agriculture
  • When are salary reviews conducted?
  • The proportion of females in the ag workforce
  • The most popular benefits being offered
  • Expected retirement trends in the next 1-5 years?


There is both a U.S. & Canadian edition available for download.

Human resource managers and business leaders from nearly 150 agricultural companies participated in’s tenth edition Agribusiness HR Review. The final analysis and resulting trends represent current HR practices for an estimated 200,000 ag employees across North America.