By Daniel Fuller
I don’t think anybody will disagree with me when I say the biggest challenge our industry is currently facing is the shortage of workers. Everywhere around the country, it’s the same story: “I just can’t find staff.”
I knew this was a problem worth solving when I left my landscape maintenance boss in Autumn with eight weeks’ notice and he still couldn’t fill my position. His solution was to drop dozens of clients with the hope of finding a team leader before spring.
I was horrified by this scenario, which prompted me to create the new green industry job board to help match the right candidate with the right employer. It’s called Hort People. (www.hortpeople.com)
Most jobs we find on the well-known job search sites do not advertise a salary offer, which can cause anxiety in job seekers. How do we know if a job is worth applying for if we don’t even know whether we can survive on the wages?
A salary range is mandatory on all job postings on Hort People, which I believe is a good thing for our industry in the long run because we are all aware that the low wages is a deterrent when trying to attract good staff. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I hope Hort People can be a force for good in this respect.
Speaking with various people in our industry about career progression, it’s hard to move ahead in your career unless you get into management or start a business. It can feel like we’re stuck in the same role, which is a major reason we stop looking for new jobs after a certain point.
The big job sites force us to fit into one of three categories: farming, construction, or trades and services. The only jobs that seekers can find are the ones they type the right keyword for, such as “horticulturist,” “landscaper” or “nursery.”
Unless we know the exact keywords an employer has used in their job title, we are not able to find their job advertisement.
Hort People has forty-two categories and counting, including a “new to the industry” section where employers can post jobs that are suitable for beginners entering our industry. If you are sick of working the same old jobs, it’s much easier to find relevant jobs on Hort People, compared to the larger job sites.
Having this number of job categories, allows job seekers access to roles they may never have thought of, such as green infrastructure, horticultural therapy and even sales, admin or marketing (for those of us whose bodies have sustained some wear and tear.)
Job seekers don’t have to do all the searching either. They can upload their resumes for free on Hort People, so that employers can chase them.
Only recently, Linkedin added a category for horticulture so I am not surprised a job board like HortPeople.com hasn’t been done before. It seems we are the forgotten trade. I hope to raise awareness of the value our industry, and I have invested a significant number of resources into building it the right way so that it is easy to use and offers a simple solution to finding both jobs and employees. I hope that we as an industry make good use of this job board because we deserve it. HortPeople job board is a game changer.
If you want to hear more, listen to episode 117 of the Plants Grow Here podcast to hear Karen Smith interviewing me about this project to learn more, or head straight to HortPeople.com to have a look.
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