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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 Canadians are saying:

Job Seekers / Employees

Employment

AgCareers.com surveyed ag employees and candidates, with nearly 600 responses. We asked participants if COVID-19 changed their current employment status. Looking specifically at Canadian respondents, it was reassuring that 72% said there was no change at all. However, 28% had experienced change, from reduction in hours (12%), to layoffs (5%), and dismissal from employment (1%).

The good news for recruiters is that the pandemic is bringing new job seekers to the market; 30% of respondents said that since Coronavirus,

they are now looking at job opportunities. This includes 20% who said they weren’t looking but are casually looking now to understand their options. Additionally, 10% weren’t looking, but are aggressively looking now to manage risk.

On-the-Job

We asked employees to rate their employer for COVID-19 training and education provided in preparation and during the outbreak. The majority (59%) percent said training was above average, 11% average, and 30% said their training was below average.

We also asked employees if their employer was ready to deal with COVID-19. Again, the majority 66% said their employer’s preparation was above average, 12% indicated average, and 22% said it was below average.

Employees are concerned that their employment could suffer due to COVID-19; 24% were very concerned, although 19% were not concerned at all. Employees are more concerned their employer/business will suffer due to COVID-19. The largest segment (25%) of respondents said they were “very concerned,” while only 11% 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 halfof respondents are now working from home due to COVID-19. More than one-third 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.

Employers

More than 200 ag employers responded to our survey. Looking specifically at Canada, 82% percent have taken measures to communicate and inform employees about COVID-19. Nearly half had a business continuity plan in place to help reduce risks to the business.

Eighty five percent of employers said their organization could accommodate work from home/remote work in some or all employees. Overall, 15% said employees were unable to work remotely. As expected, Agribusinesses were more likely than Production and Manufacturers to say all employees could work from home.Production and Manufacturers were less likely than Agribusinesses to say 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, 32% also said Finance/Accounting positions were unable to work from home. Engineering, Research/Quality Control, Marketing/Communications, and Sales/Customer Service 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. One-third of employers said they had no additional plans (were going without staff).

But there is good news for job seekers, as 69% 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.

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Employers: Click here to start your recruitment effort.