Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

Australia: Comparison between seasonal workers, working holiday makers

A report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has assessed the contribution of working holiday makers and workers from the Seasonal Worker Programme to Australian horticulture and found each group offers unique advantages to employers.

ABARES Executive Director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said the study, commissioned by the World Bank, focused on the productivity and contribution to farm profitability of these two labour sources.

“Our report found seasonal workers and working holiday makers both play important roles in Australian horticulture,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“We found workers from the Seasonal Worker Programme delivered higher productivity and less staff turnover, while working holiday makers could be accessed at short notice to meet urgent demand in peak periods.

“Seasonal workers had 20 per cent higher productivity, and were seen by growers as reliable and motivated, with a predictable employment term.

“There were considerable productivity gains from seasonal workers who returned to the same farm in subsequent seasons and had already developed skills and farm knowledge.

“Seasonal workers also had an average work period of 22 weeks compared to working holiday makers’ five weeks.

“The study also found seasonal workers involved higher non-wage labour costs than working holiday makers, due to their recruitment processes and the transport and pastoral care provided to assist workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste settle into Australian communities.

“The report found, however, that it was likely seasonal workers delivered an overall profitability gain to employers—with higher average productivity at least covering their non-wage labour costs.

“A key benefit growers found with working holiday makers was they were easier to access at short notice, although they tended to have shorter periods of employment and higher turnover, requiring more training.”

World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf, said the study provides more proof of the value-add Pacific Islanders participating in the Seasonal Worker Program are delivering for Australian agribusiness.

“The study’s analysis shows the positive return investment in Seasonal Worker Program participants delivers for Australian farms.

“We look forward to continuing our work with development partners and stakeholders to ensure programs like this are continuing to benefit participants and farmers.”

For a copy of the report visit

Publication date: 2/6/2018



Other news in this sector:

2/19/2018 “Market for illuminated tomatoes under more pressure than last year”
2/19/2018 Shorter travel time because of diminishing Polar ice
2/19/2018 Can someone turn that off? We're trying to sleep here!
2/19/2018 EU: Policy recommendations regarding position of fruit and vegetable sector
2/16/2018 Spring Festival approaches, cucumber prices rise
2/16/2018 World population growth 1 July 2016 - 1 July 2017
2/16/2018 Spanish ports increase horticultural products traffic by 10%
2/15/2018 US (MI): Online tool offers exporting intel to food and ag businesses
2/15/2018 China: Exports of Xinjiang vegetables to Pakistan
2/15/2018 Vietnam: Fruit, vegetable exports up 37% in January
2/15/2018 Ontario and Canada mark Agriculture Day with landmark agreement
2/15/2018 "Trump’s budget proposal is bad news for farmers markets"
2/14/2018 CAN (BC): Minimum wage up again
2/14/2018 Europe: Applications open for EIT Food Accelerator Network
2/14/2018 Belgium: Aubergine acreage BelOrta quickly increasing
2/14/2018 Spain: Murcia hit by frosts
2/14/2018 Uzbekistan aims to triple supply of fresh produce to Russia
2/14/2018 Ontario partners with University of Guelph
2/14/2018 UK food & farming sector highlights impact on home-grown production
2/13/2018 UK: EFRA re-open labour inquiry