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HOW DIVERSE IS AGRICULTURE?

As agriculture itself has diversified, so has its workforce. AgCareers.com conducted the "Workplace Diversity Survey" to capture employer's efforts to address diversity within their organizations. The survey analysis details the current state of workplace diversity in the U.S. agricultural industry, and validates the statement that the agriculture industry generally embraces and supports diversity in the workplace.

Eighty-two organizations across a variety of agriculture sectors in 28 states participated in the survey. A key takeaway was that no longer is there a typical employee in agriculture; rather we've outgrown stereotypes about the demographics of our industry.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

The survey asked respondents about the diverse talent represented within their organizations and the results (illustrated in Figure 1) are encouraging. In fact, 83% of respondents included females, followed by 67% of respondents reporting that more than one race is represented by their employees. Twenty-five percent of organizations report their employees are representative of all seven demographics listed.

The survey also asked about specific demographics represented by the respondent's full-time employees. The federal government requires employers with at least 100 employees to annually file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that includes the gender and racial composition of their workforce. Due to this requirement AgCareers.com anticipated that most survey respondents would have information available for these two categories.

Respondents provided the most complete information on the inclusion of female employees.

Sixty-seven percent of employers were unsure about the number of LGBTQIA employees in their organization and 70% were unsure of the number of employees who represent a religion other than Christianity.

The high frequency of "unsure" responses coupled with comments provided by respondents throughout the survey lend to an assumption that employers don't often focus on the demographics of an individual, rather they are hiring the best candidate for the job, and diversity happens naturally.

RECRUITMENT EFFORTS

Organizations were nearly evenly split on their response as to whether they have challenges with recruiting diverse employees.

The organizations reporting difficulty in recruiting were asked to rank their challenges. The most prevalent challenge was lack of diverse applicants. This was followed by location of jobs, a common industry trend regardless of the targeted audience.

Over half of respondents indicated that their recruiting strategies are aimed at increasing the diversity represented in their organization. The number one reason organizations said they recruit diverse candidates is to build an environment of diverse perspectives and experiences.

RETENTION EFFORTS

Some organizations did report having strategies aimed specifically at retaining a diverse workforce. For the organizations that do have specific retention strategies over 90% utilize formalized mentoring. This was followed by hosting cultural events (54%). Encouragingly, 65% of organizations reported that they do not have trouble retaining diverse employees.

MAJOR TAKEAWAYS

While the term "diversity" has historically been used to reference differences in race, as evident by AgCareers.com Workplace Diversity Survey a more accurate definition would encompass a host of demographics, as well as diversity of thought and experiences.

As with most anything involving human capital, there is room for improvement as the agriculture industry strives to foster diverse workplaces. Organizational leaders can utilize the report to assess how they address workplace diversity challenges and opportunities.

To access the complete "Workplace Diversity Survey" report visit https://www.agcareers.com/ reports.cfm.

by Kristi Sproul, AgCareers.com
Fig. 1

Diverse Talent Represented at Organization

Race                                67%
Ethnicity (includes Hispanic)       65%
Disability                          44%
Nationality, other than American    54%
LGBTQIA                             32%
Female                              83%
Religion, Other than Christian      43%
All of the Above                    25%
Unsure                               8%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Title Annotation:People in Perspective
Author:Sproul, Kristi
Publication:Agri Marketing
Date:Sep 1, 2018
Words:595
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