IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labour and skills shortages in the agro-food sector


  • Michael Ryan


Labour and skills shortages are a major concern in the agro-food sector across OECD countries. This challenge is compounded by the relatively small, and declining, contribution of agriculture to GDP, and the negative public perception of the sector with relatively low wages and limited career prospects. This paper reviews policies that have the potential to address labour and skills shortages in the agro-food sector including labour market, education and training, social protection policies, immigration, as well as agricultural specific policies. Many of the policy levers used to address the agro-food labour challenge lie outside the sector and involve finding the right policy mix that tends to be country specific. Furthermore, some issues can be addressed by closer public and private collaboration such as improving working conditions, increasing investment in agricultural education and training of young entrants to the sector. Greater attention also needs to be given to improving the image of agriculture as a career choice, promoting a more diverse workforce, improving the alignment of skills to the needs of the sector, promoting continuous learning, and strengthening national advisory services.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Ryan, 2023. "Labour and skills shortages in the agro-food sector," OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:agraaa:189-en
    DOI: 10.1787/ed758aab-en

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    More about this item


    Agricultural policy; Agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy; Animal Welfare Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:agraaa:189-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.