Agricultural Science Job Market Growth And The Need For Exceptional Staffing
Thanks to a range of global and economic factors, including increased investment from both private and government sources, the demand for top-level agricultural staff has never been greater and there are a wide range of excellent positions available in this high-growth market.
What is causing demand?
The recent global economic problems had seen a dip in traditional research funding sources, particularly from the public sector. However, this has been largely mitigated by increased private sector investment in emerging fields such as biotechnology and nanotechnology and ongoing global population growth, which is forcing governments to act fast to secure future food technologies. The world’s leaders are increasingly seeking out the best agricultural talents at the very uppermost tiers of professional expertise, to develop both strategic and operational projects in both developed and emerging markets.
Hot recruitment areas
Highly skilled and experienced staff are in demand in areas relating to agricultural inputs and the food value chain. These ‘hot’ areas include Crop Protection, Seeds, Biotechnology (Seed treatments and non-chemical crop protection alternatives), Fertilizer and the Food Value Chain (Soft agri commodity trading, F&B FMCG, processors, mills etc). For those scientists, researchers, directors and specialists with the requisite skills, the opportunities for professional excellence, opportunity, remuneration and potential travel, are excellent.
Biotechnology and biofuels
Biotechnology has been fuelled by advances in genetics. Some food scientists are using this field to adapt plants and crops at the genetic level in a bid to make organisms more productive or resistant to disease. Genetic modification also aims to provide more reliable food supplies in the future and to meet the demands of a growing global population.
The advances in this field have opened up a number of specialist research and agricultural science positions, including a range of commercial roles in agriculture, environmental remediation and the food industry. Biofuels, which are manufactured from the products or processes of agriculture, are also in demand and scientists in the agricultural world who can work alongside biologists and chemists to develop ways to transform crops into fuel and energy sources can enjoy competitive salaries and benefits. America’s demand for ethanol, which is a derivative of corn, is a great example of this boom sector. Experienced and highly-trained staff are greatly in demand for senior and executive positions.
Nanotechnology and food testing
Nanotechnology is equally interesting and promises to transform the way in which agricultural produce and food are tested for contamination or spoilage. Some scientists are already using this technology to create fast and accurate detection sensors that can reliably pick up food contamination. After the recent horsemeat contamination scandal, this is also likely to be a growth sector and similarly – demand is set to grow rapidly for specialist recruitment in this sector.
There is a vast number of senior-level, challenging and diverse roles now appearing again in the agricultural sciences sector and aligned sectors such as sales, business development and support. Recruitment companies have also seen an increase in demand for senior appointments at board level, as well as niche and extremely high-profile scientific roles, which tend to require executive search services for their specialisms and difficulty of sourcing. Opportunities abound for those who possess the relevant qualifications and demonstrable experience in core or aligned fields. As a basic, senior roles will require that candidates possess a postgraduate or doctoral degree and most will expect several years of solid experience and credentials. Such roles tend to offer excellent remuneration packages and opportunities for travel, as well as the opportunity to add to a global debate, be recognised within the highest echelons of the academic community and transform the next generation of agricultural products.
Due to the complexity and requirements of recruitment in this sector, executive search functions remain the best bet for matching top talent with the highly-specific demands and innovative strategies of the leaders in these fields. The market is regularly changing and profiles are in demand, which require global talent, taken from a relatively small pool of suitably qualified individuals. Executive search functions can greatly facilitate this process and ensure that the client and candidate are accurately matched and the role filled as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. The future in the agricultural sector is exciting and opportunities are abound for those keen to make their mark and contribute to one of the most pressing and high-focus sectors for the coming decades.