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

Bengaluru, March 21, 2018: 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 therapid rate at which Indian farmers are adapting to mechanization, theagriculture sector shows scope for promising growth, which experts believe isin line with the government’s ambitious goal of doubling farm income by 2022.In fact, according to the recent EconomicSurvey 2017-18 by the Government of India, the agriculture sector islikely to grow at 2.1 per cent in 2018.  Another recent survey ofapproximately 6,000 millennials (source: CSDS-KASYouth Study) revealed that the largest employer of India’s youth is stillthe agricultural sector, given that farming continues to be the largestemployer in the country by an overwhelming majority. Interestingly, the studyindicates the number of youth engaged in the sector has increased by 4% since2007. All these statistics point to a prospective rise in employment in thesector; provided the jobs created can be formalised.

Of late,several Indian startups have taken to the trend of ‘clean labelling’, whereinthey make use of wholly natural substances in their products. Projected to beone of the country’s burgeoning “sunrise sectors” in the coming year, the‘clean labelling’ sector shows promise of a rapid boom. A sunrise industryis typically one characterized by high growth rates, numerous start-ups and anabundance of venture capital funding. Clean labellingcompanies in India such asRAW Pressery, Epigamia, Paperboat, Jus Divine, Antidote, and 24 Mantra, amongothers, are likely to seek talent to further their goal of bringing a wholesomelifestyle to their consumers. Consumer-driven trends that focus on healthyeating could well be the required impetus to not only generate job openings butalso encourage more youth to consider a career in the agriculture sector.

Commentingon 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 byextension, healthy living is driving the movement towards clean labelling; anarea that requires agricultural expertise. Increasingly, food manufacturers areleaning towards wholesome recipes that appeal to the informed consumer. Withemerging state-of-the-art courses such as Agribusiness, Agricultural ResourceManagement, Food Sciences and Technologies, and so on, we can look forward towell-equipped professionals in the field.”

Given the government’s impetustowards the development of the agricultural segment and strengthening the ruraleconomy, the need of the hour is to encourage job seekers to venture into thefarming and agriculture-related market, in addition to helping existing farmersobtain the maximum benefit from their yield. This year’s Union Budget saw theFinance Ministry double the funds allocated to the Agriculture Ministry amidstother benefits. While this should be a right step towards helping alleviate thefarmers’ burden, it will also encourage more job seekers to venture into thesector.

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