The majority of Irish agri-food professionals are worried about the impact of Brexit, a recent survey has shown.

The Agricultural Science Association (ASA) today released the results of the first ASA Agri Career Barometer, which tracks sentiment and career progression within the Irish agri-food sector.

Its shows that 82% of agri-professionals remain concerned about the impact of Brexit on their business in the future.

Members of the ASA identified three areas of concern, which include general market volatility, currency exchange rates and loss of trade.

The research findings were released to over 400 delegates at the opening of the ASA Annual Conference in Co. Kilkenny, where Irish and international expert speakers will discuss and debate how to best lead Irish agriculture into the future.

However, despite the concerns relating to Brexit, almost 30% of the participants believe that Brexit offers some opportunities for the industry.

Agri-food professionals remain loyal to the sector

The research also reveled that agri-food professionals remain loyal to the sector with more than 90% of those surveyed saying that they would encourage graduates to pursue a career in the industry.

One in three respondents also said that they would not consider moving to another industry.

But, 47% said they would consider the move because of the perceived greater career development opportunities, while 36% said they would consider the move because of greater perceived salary opportunities.

Commenting on the research, Neil Keane, ASA President said that it is heartening to see that those working in the agri-food sector remain committed to its future.

“The importance of continuous training and up-skilling is widely acknowledged in order to ensure that agri-professionals are proficient when it comes to the latest scientific and technological developments.

“However, the low levels of mentoring offered within the sector is concerning.

It is imperative that the industry nurtures and supports the strong pipeline of talent coming from our universities to avoid losing our best talent to another sector.

“As the representative body for Irish agri-professionals, the ASA is uniquely positioned to facilitate further education and mentoring opportunities and will continue to do so over the coming year,” he said.

Key findings from the ASA Agri Career Barometer 2016:

  • 20% of paid employees reported receiving a promotion in the last 12 months, 80% of those also received a pay rise
  • The majority of pay rises received (40%) were in the 3-5% range with 26% of respondents receiving a salary increase of between 11-20%
  • One in three of those self employed within the industry reported receiving a pay rise in the last 12 months
  • 67% of those in paid employment were offered some external training in the last 12 months, but only 38% were offered formal mentoring within the organisation
  • 75% of those self employed invested in training for themselves in the last 12 months
  • One in three agri-food professionals would not consider moving to another industry
  • Among the reasons professionals would consider leaving the industry were perceived greater career development opportunity (47%) and greater salary opportunity (36%)
  • 80% of those self employed in the industry believe it is a sustainable long term employment option
  • More than 90% of those surveyed would encourage graduates to pursue a career in the agri-food sector