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Top 5 HR Concerns in Ag

By Mary Barefoot,


Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one with HR concerns.’s recent survey of HR professionals, the Agribusiness HR Review, revealed interesting results aimed at highlighting the most pressing issues in ag and food regarding human capital. This top five list covers a variety of focus areas perplexing our field today.

  1. Competing for Talent and Recruiting Difficulties – It was no surprise that the number one concern for HR professionals is competing for and recruiting the right people for their workforce. The trend of recruiting difficulties seemed to emerge as employers hinted of their difficulties through several different areas such as a lower number of applicants, and applicants without the necessary skills or experience. In addition, recruitment difficulties were noted as the second most common factor effecting workforce planning, behind voluntary turnover. Recruiting difficulties were certainly validated through various areas of the HR Review and will be issue employers must work through in 2018.
  2. Employee Training and Development – Training and development ranked as the second most common concern among HR professionals. This can also be validated as training and development was noted as a top method used by employers to keep employees challenged and productive in their roles. Training initiatives support employees in their current role and help them prepare for future positions as well. As companies seek to retain top performers providing opportunities to expand skills, knowledge and experience at an affordable cost will remain a challenge.
  3. Fair and Competitive Compensation Systems – Fair and competitive compensation systems ranked as the third most common concern among HR professionals. Along with this trend, around half of participating companies performed compensation studies in the past 12 months, indicating companies want to ensure a successful compensation program. Competitive compensation systems are also a top way in which employers’ plan to compete with other employers. Employers are aware that if they fall behind in the compensation area, it could have serious consequences against their ability to compete against other employers. Learn more about’s Compensation Benchmark Review.
  4. Managing a Multigenerational Workforce - Managing a multigenerational workforce was the fourth most common HR concern noted among HR professionals. In addition, around half of Canadian and U.S. companies anticipate between 1%-5% of their workforce will retire within the next 1-5 years, 45% of total respondents expect to do more graduate recruitment in the next 1-5 years. Companies are paying attention to the fact that multigenerational workforces are a reality and those that can make them work stand a better chance of succeeding.
  5. Benefit Initiatives and Employee Wellness – Employee benefits and wellness was the fifth most common HR concern noted among HR professionals. In fact, better benefits are the number one method employers use to compete for talent in the U.S. (73%) and the number two tactic in Canada (51%). HR professional will need to get creative to meet employee expectations in 2018. While the options of innovative offerings in this category are ever growing, tightening budgets may prevent program expansion for some organizations. The availability of a good balance of benefits, including wellness, will be critical to attracting and retaining employees this year.

Discover more HR, recruiting and retention trends by downloading the full copy of the new Agribusiness HR Review:

2017-2018 U.S. Agribusiness HR Review

2017-2018 Canadian Agribusiness HR Review

Companies will need to remain flexible as they work to reach talent and meet the demands of providing a rewarding workplace in 2018. A strong partnership between HR and senior leadership will be essential for successfully navigating the environment this year, as there will be no shortage of challenges or offerings to balance. In addition, companies may need to revamp efforts to adequately recruit and supply talent for their businesses. looks forward to collaborating with clients in the coming year to help meet these challenges and providing the most recent industry data to assist in decision making!