Emerging ‘clean-labelling’ trend boosts agriculture jobs amidst declining millennial interest

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

- 25% drop in average number of agriculture related job searches per week

- 21-25 year olds show least inclination towards agriculture jobs; 31-35 year old show higher than average interest in the sector

- ‘Clean-labelling’ trend may help drive agricultural jobs

Recent data from Indeed, the world’s no. 1 job site, indicates a gradually declining level of interest in jobs pertaining to agriculture and farming over the past year, with a 25% drop in the average number of agriculture related job searches per week from January to December, 2017.  The data further indicates that job seekers in the age group of 21 to 25 year olds – the millennial generation comprising fresh graduates, newcomers to the industry and interns – show the lowest level of interest in agriculture jobs. Commonly perceived as careers that lack security, the lack of awareness about the scope of the sector and the dearth of entrepreneurial spirit also hinders new entrants. However, the age group of 31 to 35 year olds exhibits a higher than average interest in this category of jobs, presumably having acquired the requisite knowledge and skills to overcome these hurdles.

Given the rapid rate at which Indian farmers are adapting to mechanization, the agriculture sector shows scope for promising growth, which experts believe is in line with the government’s ambitious goal of doubling farm income by 2022. In fact, according to the recent Economic Survey 2017-18 by the Government of India, the agriculture sector is likely to grow at 2.1 per cent in 2018.  Another recent survey of approximately 6,000 millennials (source: CSDS-KAS Youth Study) revealed that the largest employer of India’s youth is still the agricultural sector, given that farming continues to be the largest employer in the country by an overwhelming majority. Interestingly, the study indicates the number of youth engaged in the sector has increased by 4% since 2007. All these statistics point to a prospective rise in employment in the sector; provided the jobs created can be formalised.

Of late, several Indian startups have taken to the trend of ‘clean labelling’, wherein they make use of wholly natural substances in their products. Projected to be one of the country’s burgeoning “sunrise sectors” in the coming year, the ‘clean labelling’ sector shows promise of a rapid boom. A sunrise industry is typically one characterized by high growth rates, numerous start-ups and an abundance of venture capital funding. Clean labelling companies in India such as RAW Pressery, Epigamia, Paperboat, Jus Divine, Antidote, and 24 Mantra, among others, are likely to seek talent to further their goal of bringing a wholesome lifestyle to their consumers. Consumer-driven trends that focus on healthy eating could well be the required impetus to not only generate job openings but also encourage more youth to consider a career in the agriculture sector.

Commenting on the same, Mr. Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India said, “Today, the agriculture sector in India is a promising place to build a career, given the government’s efforts to enhance India’s production capabilities. Further, the shift in consumer behaviour towards healthy eating, and by extension, healthy living is driving the movement towards clean labelling; an area that requires agricultural expertise. Increasingly, food manufacturers are leaning towards wholesome recipes that appeal to the informed consumer. With emerging state-of-the-art courses such as Agribusiness, Agricultural Resource Management, Food Sciences and Technologies, and so on, we can look forward to well-equipped professionals in the field.”

Given the government’s impetus towards the development of the agricultural segment and strengthening the rural economy, the need of the hour is to encourage job seekers to venture into the farming and agriculture-related market, in addition to helping existing farmers obtain the maximum benefit from their yield. This year’s Union Budget saw the Finance Ministry double the funds allocated to the Agriculture Ministry amidst other benefits. While this should be a right step towards helping alleviate the farmers’ burden, it will also encourage more job seekers to venture into the sector.

Krishi Jagran

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