Report Synopsis

Inspiring Gen Z to Consider Careers in Agriculture and Food

Becky Parker


Many countries around the world, including Canada, are experiencing a labour shortage in the agri-food sector. Without adequate labour to perform work duties, productivity is reduced, and profitability can be impeded through lost sales or hindered opportunities for expansion.

Target Audience

One potential source of labour is Generation Z (Gen Z), youth born between 1993 and 2011. Gen Z is a viable source for future employees and agri-business entrepreneurs for several reasons:

  • They make up 22% of the Canadian population (Statistics Canada 2015)
  • They will be entering the workforce over the next 20 years
  • Many are looking for entrepreneurial opportunities and a diversity of career options (Sparks & Honey 2015)


There are, however, challenges. Few Gen Zers know about the diversity of careers in agri-food. Many associate agri-food careers ONLY with primary production. Therefore, we must use an edu-marketing approach that focuses on marketing agriculture careers to youth using educational settings and programs. The edu-marketing tactics will build awareness, engagement and commitment to ag careers. The steps are:

Step 1: Increase exposure of the agri-food sector and the diversity of opportunities available to the general population of youth

Step 2: Provide opportunities for youth to engage with careers through experiential learning (e.g. job shadows, co-op, etc.)

Step 3: Introduce mentors and ambassadors who can offer further positive influence to students who show an interest in agri-food careers


The three key players who need to collaborate on edu-marketing of agri-food careers are:

  • Schools and Education Organizations
  • Agri-food sector (agri-businesses, producer organizations, industry groups, etc.)
  • Youth Development Organizations