Poaching and incentivizing competitors staff
Credible reports surfaced last week that Queensland red meat processors are offering meat workers employed elsewhere significant financial incentives to leave their current jobs. In further evidence of desperate government labor procurement in Australia’s processing industry offered targets of up to $3,500 to work for competitors in nearby factories. Then, if the employee is still working at the new factory after six months, an additional $3,500 will be added.
However, similar reports have recently circulated from the Australian food service industry. Restaurateurs and hoteliers have a “friendly word” to send their “factories” to competing establishments, evaluate good performance and switch to other nearby branches for financial incentives.
It is questionable how sustainable such practices are in a highly competitive meat processing environment. Labor and processing/packaging costs in processing red meat in Australia already far exceed those of its North American and South American competitors.
A South East Queensland processor located in an area with the highest concentration of processors in the country and encourages new hires from existing processors, although his company “We have always had an internal program where existing employees get incentives for bringing new butchers into the company.”
Focus on poaching skilled staff
A major slaughterer contact said that when such robberies occurred, it likely occurred at a “skilled” level, with experienced workers using boning machines, slicers, etc. It wasn’t among meat factory workers or unskilled parts.
Australian Meat Industry Workers’ Union Queensland secretary Matt Journeau said he had no direct knowledge of the kind of financial incentives outlined, but said it was “certainly possible”. However, to date it has not been raised as a concern or issue at AMIEU,” Journeau said.
He said that while labor problems in the industry have worsened over the past few years, the meat processing industry has indeed struggled to attract staff over the past decade. “In our opinion, an intensive training process should have started long ago to make people understand what concerns skilled workers,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have relied heavily on 417 and 482 visa holders to fill qualified positions.” “The lack of training for domestic workers is part of the current problem, though not the only reason. “Every Australian industry is fighting for workers right now. If Australian industry needs two million more workers, why not move two million more here?” asked Journeaux.”
Expectation over the next 12 months
Mr Journeaux said the situation could certainly get tougher in the next 12 months. “It is a matter of concern moving forward. Clearly, this year’s decline in supply masks the problem to some extent. But some big processors already support it. For example, JBS is building a large training facility in front of its beef plant (Dinmore). “This is primarily because we recognize that it will become more difficult to find qualified workers in the future.” No further development was planned for.
Most training has historically been “chained”, according to Journeaux. “A little more discipline and structure in training, and perhaps slowing down the chain through which people acquire these skills, may be needed rather than throwing people into the deepest depths.”
The Gold Coast Employment Network
Expanding Employment Network Gold Coast Australia this week Ahead of his conference, Nutrien CEO Rob Clayton said there is currently a labor shortage at all levels of the agricultural sector. “Overall, Australia’s unemployment rate is the lowest in 20 years. We are seeing high levels of competition not only from the agricultural sector but also from competing industries such as mining, manufacturing and banking. It means competing with all other industries for a limited talent pool.” “We need a diverse workforce that includes people outside the traditional agricultural sector. We need to be challenged to consider talent in other sectors with transferable skills such as , chemistry and engineering,” said Clayton.
In addition to recruiting new talent, Nutrien focused on retaining and engaging the existing workforce and creating career development and advancement opportunities. “It makes sense to invest in our greatest asset, our people, and enable them to take on new challenges and grow in their respective fields,” said Clayton. “At Nutrien, we have adopted a new approach in our postgraduate programs. The traditional acceptance of graduates of agricultural sciences and livestock trainees is central to us, but IT, marketing, finance, data analysts We are also looking for graduates in the myriad of other skills needed in agribusiness.
Read: Why is Americas largest meat producer, Tyson Foods under pressure?
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Source: Beef Central