Ag Job Market Favors Candidates

Finding it harder to track down the right new hires? Here’s why. ( SparkPost )

The ag industry’s hiring, but 2018 U.S. unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in a decade. That creates a tight labor market for employers looking to expand their business or searching for the right staff to fill vacancies.’s latest Job Outlook Report reviews job and candidate trends from 2018 and provides an outlook for 2019. experienced an increase in the number of job openings posted on the site, with 70,000 job openings posted on in 2018. 

Candidate Trends

While candidates continue to search for sales and marketing positions through, there was a surge in students searching for internship and work experiences. When we combine keyword searches for “intern” and “internship,” this category takes over the most-searched keyword on the site. Candidates may also search by location, industry, career type and more, along with saving jobs and setting up job alerts via text or email.  

Despite the job seekers’ market, candidates continue their outreach to agricultural employers. Candidates added more than 6,000 new resumes to the database in 2018, an increase of 11% over 2017. 

When we examined applicants’ demographic information, we found 64% of people had a bachelor’s degree or higher and 63% had an ag-based degree. Ag Business/Management/Economics was the most frequent degree for applicants. 

Most applicants (66%) were currently or most recently in an ag occupation, while 13% were students. Ag Sales/Marketing was the most frequent occupation for applicants. Those in non-ag occupations were typically in roles with transferable skills applicable to agriculture, such as sales, customer service or skilled trades. Illustrating the diverse array of applicants with experience, 35% had 10-plus years of experience. 

Job Trends

In the United States, employers posted the largest number of jobs in the fall season, with a peak in October. Midwestern jobs made up more than half of jobs posted in the United States, although California and Texas were also among the top 10 job posting states. 

Job listings on are categorized into one of 25 different industry types. Here were the top three industry type categories employers posted by highest number of positions:

1. Chemical, Pesticide and Fertilizer

2. Equipment, Manufacturing & Technical 

3. Commodities & Trading 

Employers also categorize job postings in one of 42 different career types. Here were the top three in 2018:

1. Operations 

2. Sales/Retail

3. Farm & Ranch Operations/Herdsperson/On Farm  

Find out more by downloading your free copy of the full 2018 U.S. Agribusiness Job Report at and clicking on Market Research under the drop-down menu. A separate Canadian edition is also available. For more information contact

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