The first guest speaker was Shamubeel Eaqub, a leading economist from Sense Partners, who focused on the long-term workforce trends influencing the sector, and the changes that need to occur to support future success.

“The world is shifting, and it is shifting for everyone,” says Mr Eaqub. “It has never been harder to find labour, and it isn’t just dairy experiencing this.

“Other sectors are doing anything they can do to attract labour, and these long-term issues have been around for decades. It’s on us to consider how we can step up and support the people that are working in your teams and businesses.”

“Let’s reframe the conversation to think about how we can make the jobs more attractive, to keep people in the sector. We need to give them a compelling proposition, training, and career progression opportunities to encourage them to join and stay in dairy.”

Bringing an external perspective, Aaron Jay from HortUs discussed how he has developed a high-performing business built on and for people and providing relevant takeaways for farmers to apply to their individual teams.

“It is important to acknowledge your strengths and have your team supporting you with the expertise and knowledge that you do not have,” says Mr Jay.

“You also need to remember the reason your people turn up every day is to achieve their version of their success. You need to understand what success means for them and to you, and to shift your business strategy so you can find success for everyone.”

Speakers and attendees at the Waikato People Expo event (from left) Aaron Jay (HortUs), Lee Astridge (No8HR/DairyNZ), Hayden Lawrence (farmer), Jules Benton (DWN), Shamubeel Eaqub (Sense Partners), Jane Muir (DairyNZ), Chris Lewis (DairyNZ), Callum Eastwood (DairyNZ).

“As we look forward, you have to determine if you are going to participate or not. Making the decision that you are here, and that you want to attract and retain really good people for your business, is a critical starting point.”

The People Expo events also covered technology adoption opportunities, future research to make better jobs and farming businesses, and what dairy sector employers can do to find and keep great people.

A range of tools and advice on recruitment, onboarding new employees and creating a great workplace to retain staff is available at dairynz.co.nz/people.

Media Contacts

Celine Walters-Gray
DairyNZ Media Specialist
027 247 9876

Jules Benton
Dairy Women's Network CEO
021 275 6690

Page last updated:

24 Mar 2023


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