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.
Our MD Sam Clayton was asked to speak at Agri-TechE's Agri 101 event, around the different career routes that exist in AgriTech - in particular answering the question of whether or not an Agri / Farming background is always required.
This event has been running for a few years now, so hopefully we'll see it again in 2023 - definitely recommended for anybody in, or interested in getting into, the AgTech world!
Do contact us for further info on the content of Sam's talk should you want to know more.
We were delighted to be asked to sponsor Barn4's in person social event for the second occasion, at their Cambridge NIAB site.
Previously held virtually during the lockdown period, this is now the second time this has been held in person, and we look forward to more to come!
A great opportunity to meet with innovators in the AgriTech domain, and definitely recommended for those in the space (or with an interest in getting into it).
Working as a Recruiter in AgriTech, naturally people often ask me what type of roles I find myself recruiting for. We also collaborate and provide advice to various academic bodies and institutions in this space and, in a similar vein, are also asked; what kind of career opportunities exist in this world? Is it a career route people should be actively looking to pursue? Do you need a farming background to build a career in this domain?
The truth is that, just like in other tech driven sectors, the nature of roles that arise can be highly varied, weird & wonderful. Some of course may require an agri / farming specific skillset, but there’s a plethora of others that don’t. Below is a (by no means exhaustive!) snapshot:
In summary, for anybody interested in this space and the opportunity to work in a sector that can have a genuinely positive impact on the world, there are career opportunities aplenty… whether you’re of an Agri background or not. Don’t let a lack of an Agri background deter you!
It was a pleasure and privilege to sponsor Barn4's recent Breakfast Social event; the first one to be held in person.
The event provided a great chance to meet and network with various parties across the AgriTech sector, from start-up leaders through to those interested in investing into the sector.
Fingers crossed for more events of this nature in future.
Vertical Farming is a sub-sector of AgriTech in which we've seen a huge rise in activity levels in the last 1-2 years. However, it was only recently that we had the chance to physically see a Vertical Farm in action, as we travelled to visit a client in this domain.
Feeling like we'd just stepped into the future, we came away highly impressed and excited about what this space has to offer. We expect to see much more activity and a range of different role types opening up in this sector over the coming months and years... watch this space!
We recently enjoyed exhibiting at FPC's (Fresh Produce Consortium) Futures event - our first in-person event since before the pandemic.
It was great to put a face to the name of so many people we've developed connections and relationships with over the last 1-2 years, but have not been able to meet in person until now!
Overall, the event seemed to be a great success, and we look forward to hopefully visiting again next year!
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