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Recruiting Industry Insiders

Industry Insiders: Gail Eckert on Agriculture

Summit Search Group

Gail Eckert

Director, Recruitment

Gail Eckert

Director, Recruitment

Passion, people, community: these are the foundations of agriculture. At Summit Search Group, we are proud to be a part of this close-knit industry, and to apply our deep experience to help the agricultural sector grow and their people to succeed.

Opportunities in agriculture are abundant and diverse: and now, in the face

of a global pandemic, they’re even more essential than ever. Whether your interest is in trade specialities, the sciences, accounting, business, or tech, you’ll find a dedicated and passionate network here.

Industry Challenges in Agriculture

With over 25 years of experience, our in-house agricultural recruitment expert Gail Eckert knows the industry inside and out. “The biggest challenge recruiting in the Ag industry is not just finding the right skillset, but finding the right fit. It’s about investing the time and hard work, identifying just where the right person might be and then determining how I might reach them,” Gail says. “The individuals in this field are passionate “Agvocates” and proudly refer to themselves as such. They’re so engaged, and so invested in their communities and the future of their work and their industries. This dedication is like nothing I’ve seen before.”

An ongoing recruiting challenge faced by the industry is often related to location. “This kind of work is deeply connected to the community, and it’s important for these greatly talented people to join the fabric of the local community,” she adds. “It’s important to many clients that their new hires are immersed in the local scene, building relationships and establishing roots.”

Canada’s Thriving Agricultural Community

Our country joins the world stage as one of its largest agricultural producers and exporters. Sprawling fields of grains and oilseeds, a vibrant horticulture sector, and dedicated keepers of livestock and poultry are just a few of the highlights of agriculture and the agribusinesses that we boast across Canada.

Gail engages with these opportunities in real time, every day. “One in every eight jobs across the country right now are somehow tied to agriculture and agribusiness. Opportunities are everywhere. You can pursue any number of positions that align with your passion.”

Agricultural Talent and the Future

In recent years, Canadian agriculture has proven to be both innovative and nimble, embracing new directions that include organic farm crops, hemp fibre production, flax, beekeeping, and sunflowers. Cannabis farming offers a robust contribution, as well, making up a full 5% of British Columbia’s GDP and employing 250,000 people.

“Even as technology becomes more and more prevalent, this industry really demands human touch and genuine connection. For example, salespeople need to really get to know customers and their families and what might be important to them. The work is far less transactional, and more consultative,” Gail advises.

“That said, it’s becoming ever more sophisticated. I believe that will continue. Environmentally and socially conscious business practices carry high value. The balance of technology, smart equipment, and information at our fingertips, alongside continued inclusiveness and connection — all of this in a community that really does give back — that’s the future of agriculture. There are just so many ways to grow.”

Tips for Finding Top Agricultural Talent

Gail shares that sometimes, finding top agricultural talent can be more complex as these opportunities can be found more word-of-mouth, driven by organic sharing and one-on-one interactions. This is why finding a recruitment partner with both the skills and the industry connections is more important than ever.

“Today, more than ever, there are groups upon groups of diverse, ag-minded supporters,” she notes. “The industry is open and welcoming, and working to expand to embrace a collaborative, driven future. Keep an eye out for passion in these candidates, because they’re honestly committed to their work and their specialties. Listen to candidates who speak the language, share your insights, and communicate with them clearly and often.

The more we dedicate ourselves to a shared, diverse, and connected future, the more we’re certain to thrive!”

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Industry Insiders: Gail Eckert on Agriculture

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