Critical shortage of senior-level talent in land-based sector

The need for robust leadership within the land-based sector has never been more pressing, but organisations are facing acute difficulties finding it, a report has confirmed.

Leading Change: Exploring senior recruitment challenges across the land-based sector, examines the hurdles faced in recruiting top-tier talent within the agriculture, horticulture, and forestry sectors.

Based on research commissioned by recruitment consultancy Cultura Connect in late 2023 the report explores the issues surrounding recruiting senior leaders following an increase in clients enlisting the Cultura team’s services for high-ranking appointments.

In-depth interviews with business leaders from across the sector uncovered recruitment difficulties at all levels, but particularly at the top end of the career ladder.

“With the enormous challenges and pressures facing our industry, having strong leadership is more important than ever. However our research confirmed a real scarcity of seasoned talent – particularly in the 35 to 55 age bracket,” said Hugh Pocock, director of Cultura Connect. “We believe this is due to a lack of popularity and interest in land-based careers when those people were making career decisions some 20 years ago.

“Thankfully this has changed and as part of our research Harper Adams University told us about their growing and increasingly diverse student population. The future looks bright, but it raises important issues for organisations needing leaders now.”

As well as passion for their sector, leaders need commercial and technical expertise and a raft of hard and soft skills. The need for leaders to have a deep understanding of the intricacies of the land-based sector and what is required to improve sustainability was also a recurring theme throughout the research.

“It really highlights the importance of proactive talent development within land-based industries,” continued Pocock. “We believe this requires solid succession plans to develop internal talent as well as a strong employer brand and meticulous recruitment strategies that cast a wide net across the industry.

“With a small talent pool to fish from, finding and attracting the right people is a challenge which requires investment in time and other resources and a strong network.”

Cultura Connect’s response to its findings is to launch Cultura Connect Exclusive – a specialised section of the business to focus solely on senior level recruitment. It provides a highly professional and confidential service to organisations seeking leaders and senior level recruits as well as individuals seeking further career progression to leadership level.


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