Federated Farmers - Rabobank remuneration survey shows good growth in farmer pay

May 26, 2020

Strong growth in pay packages in the last two years is another reason for New Zealanders to consider a career in agriculture, Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says. 

The 2020 Federated Farmers - Rabobank Farm Remuneration Report, released today, shows that between 2017/2018 and 2019/20, the mean total remuneration package (i.e. salary plus benefits such as accommodation, meat, firewood, Kiwisaver, etc) has increased significantly for farm employees across all sectors groups. 

Based on survey responses relating to nearly 3,000 on-farm positions, the report shows the mean farm employee remuneration package for dairy farm workers rose by 9.7% to $57,125, across sheep/beef farm roles it was up by 7.6% to $55,568, across grain farms it was up by 3.1% to $58,800 and in ‘other’ specialist farm roles outside standard position descriptions, it was up by 16% to $61,288. 

"We’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic that agriculture is an essential service and one of the nation’s economic pillars. Not only does a career in our sector offer very good job security and the satisfaction of working outdoors to produce quality food for families here and around the globe, it also offers competitive pay packages," Katie says. 

"Those who have the right attitude and show leadership potential can find a satisfying career pathway in front of them. For example, in the last two years, the mean total remuneration package for a dairy assistant manager has jumped $10,643 (20.6%) to $62,317, while the mean package for a dairy operations manager is now up by $1,658 (1.96%) to $85,986." 

The mean total remuneration for a head shepherd is now $60,091 (up by 8.37%) and for a senior tractor/machinery driver on a grains farm, $65,269 (up by 4.67%).

The report provides a range of information relevant to farmers who employ or who are looking to employ workers. As well as data on remuneration and the value of other benefits provided to employers, broken down to the standard farming roles in each sector, there is broader information of relevance, including information around employee demographics, average duration of employment, staff turnover, employer satisfaction and feedback on the ease of finding employees. 

"The Remuneration Report aims to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for farmers employing staff," Katie says. 

"While remuneration needs to reflect the skills and experience of the worker and the specifics of each role, the Report provides an indication of market rates. This is particularly important at a time when farmers are looking to attract new staff and retain existing staff."

Those surveyed indicate a high degree of satisfaction with employees, with a majority of employers (93%) either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with at least one of their employees’ performance. The report also underlines the value of on-farm accommodation, with accommodation provided to 80% of permanent employees.

"There are some areas beyond remuneration where farmers can look to differentiate themselves, with over half of employers claiming not to have provided any formal training to their staff. 

"We’re pleased to once again have worked with Rabobank to gain insights on pay in the sector," Katie says.

Bruce Weir, General Manager Country Banking for Rabobank New Zealand, says Rabobank is delighted to work with Feds to give the sector’s employers, employees and prospective new employees accurate information on remuneration. 

"Rabobank and Federated Farmers both have more than a century of service to the farming sector and rural communities. Farmers rely on sound qualified information and this report provides remuneration data for a very important asset - the people who help run the farming operation," Bruce says.   

Click here to get your copy


For more information contact:
Katie Milne, President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand, 027 424 4546

Simon Edwards | Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892