AgriTech is a relatively new industry, leading to the emergence of role types, and demand for certain abilities, that would have been rarely seen in the Agri domain a few years ago. With this comes the opportunity to welcome into the sector talented individuals with transferrable skills that have been honed elsewhere, along with the task of recruiting for challenging and unfamiliar skill-sets. Here I explore the increasing demand for tech & software oriented Product Managers...
The Benefits of Tech Product Management in Agritech
Product Managers can play a pivotal role in the success of Agritech products and services. By creating an organised roadmap for product development, PMs can lead products from launch to optimization. Additionally, Product Managers can provide a holistic vision for an AgriTech solution, as well as insight into customer needs.
Product Management helps streamline product development, testing, and release cycles. This decreases development costs and risks, while also increasing efficiency and quality. By following a streamlined process, PMs can ensure that Agritech products are delivered on time and within budget.
The Skills Needed to Manage AgriTech products
Product Managers must have a diverse skill set in order to be successful in the Agritech industry. They must have a deep understanding of technology processes, as well as the ability to lead and motivate teams in some cases. A certain type of personality is also needed in order to be able to effectively engage with end customers, such as farmers and growers, that are of a vastly different nature to the customer bases seen in other sectors. In some cases therefore, the requirement may be for somebody with Agri sector experience... but, often, it can be just as possible for somebody from another domain to be successful in this kind of role if they are adaptable and have the right technology-related experience.
PMs also need to possess the following skills in order to effectively manage Agritech products:
Examples of Tech Product Management in Agritech
Here are some examples of Tech & Software Product Management in Agritech:
Regulatory and Compliance Issues: Regulatory and compliance standards vary from country to country, and Product Managers must stay abreast of these regulations to ensure the safety and security of Agritech products and services.
Finding and Retaining Skilled Talent: Agritech is a rapidly expanding field and, as such, finding and retaining skilled talent is often a challenge for Product Managers. They must be able to identify and recruit talented software engineers and be able to effectively retain them.
Adapting to a Unique Industry with a Challenging Customer Base: As previously discussed, transferring into the Agri domain from other tech driven sectors is very much feasible and to be encouraged... but it can be a shock to the system initially. It's just as likely that you'll be conducting customer meetings in the middle of a field or greenhouse, as in a corporate boardroom. When it comes to farmers, you're trying to engineer a product for individuals whose day job is also their entire livelihood, often something they've been born into along with their families before and after them. They will be rightly scrupulous... this is a very different proposition to selling a piece of software to, say, a banker who is playing with a company budget (as opposed to money from their own pocket, as is often the case with farmers) and may well be working for somebody else in a few years' time anyway.
The need for Product Managers with tech expertise in the Agri domain is growing. Product Managers bring an important level of organisation and efficiency to the development of Agritech products and services, and they are essential to the continued growth of the industry.
In many cases, recruiting for such personnel may mean delving outside of the Agri sector in an effort to find those with the requisite technology experience - in other words, stepping into the wild west of the tech talent market.
The difficulty in recruiting for such people creates demand and therefore opportunities, opportunities for those who may see Product Development in AgriTech as an attractive career path - whether you're a Product Manager in another sector looking to work in a more impactful domain, or somebody of an Agri background and a passion for tech who is wondering where this skills combination could be deployed.
Here I delve into the salaries of Agritech professionals, including a comparison of salaries to others in similar industries. Please note that this is a very rudimentary comparison of average salaries compared to other sectors, as opposed to a detailed report when comparing specific role types (which could warrant many further blog posts!).
There are many benefits to working in Agritech, including the opportunity to work on meaningful projects, the challenge of developing innovative solutions to complex problems, and the potential for impressive salaries. However, it is important to understand the salaries offered for Agritech professionals, as well as the factors that influence wages.
Salaries in Agritech
The average salary of an Agritech professional varies greatly depending on several factors, such as level of education, experience, location, and the specific job role. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for Agritech professionals in the UK is £45,198 per year. This is slightly higher than the national average salary for all professions in the UK, which is £41,527, showing that Agritech positions are generally paid fairly well.
However, there is a wide range of salaries for Agritech professionals depending on the specific job role, and it's perhaps more pertinent to compare them with similar sectors (i.e. the sectors against which AgTech is competing for talent), rather than the market average for the whole population.
Comparison to Other Industries
Similar industries could include information technology and engineering. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an IT professional in the UK is £50,342, whereas the average salary of an engineering professional is £46,765. This shows that, while Agritech salaries are typically higher than the national average, they are slightly lower than those of other industries.
Are Agritech salaries competitive? Helpfully, the answer is yes and no...
Agritech salaries are generally competitive and higher than the national average, suggesting that, when looking at careers to embark upon, you could definitely do much worse. However, when compared to similar industries, such as IT and engineering, Agritech salaries tend to be slightly lower. Therefore, when it comes to attracting skilled professionals from other well-paid sectors, this is likely to be a challenging task for AgTech companies.
Whilst this post is about salary levels, it is worth noting at this point other appeals to working in AgTech... Agritech offers the opportunity to work on innovative projects, the chance to develop solutions to complex problems, and the potential to make a genuinely positive societal impact. Therefore, Agritech is an attractive choice for professionals looking for BOTH a fulfilling and financially secure career.
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