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Welcoming Generation Z into the farming business

Members of Generation Z are graduating from university and beginning to enter the workforce. Some may be interested in entering the farming industry, while others may return to work on the family farm. They are critical because they are the customers of tomorrow, but even more importantly they are the first generation of children who know what the future will be made of.

What defines Generation Z?

They are defined as people born between 1995 and 2012 and are the first true natives of the digital era. They are tech-savvy, educated and interactive, multi-taskers, desire independent work environments and need continuous updates and stimulation.

In addition, a large percentage of Generation Z say that an organisation’s impact on society will influence their decision to work there.

Employing Generation Z

Farms and businesses will now be looking to employ Generation Z with some joining the family business. To avoid potential conflicts, it is important that management and business owners born of an earlier generation can adapt to get the most out of this workforce.

One major impact will be that they will force businesses to change the way they use technology. Their IT and social media skills will enhance the workplace and businesses can remain relevant by leveraging this generation’s technology expertise.

The world seems to be a more instant place for Generation Z. Many are not office types, which could suit the farming industry well and they will want more immediate dialogue, recognition and feedback.

How to motivate?

As farms look to the next generation and Generation Z children coming home to the farm, or as businesses look to take on Generation Z employees, how best to motivate them?

  • This could be an opportunity to put them to work, unlocking new and innovative business initiatives. Give them a role that allows them to be interactive and creative
  • It may be best to start by simply making them employees. Putting them on the payroll with a guaranteed monthly salary could be just what they want
  • If it is a family member, you may want to lock them in and give them incentives to stay. This could be by giving them some shares in the company or introducing them as a partner in the partnership. Older generations may be able to gift some shares to the younger generation. Provided it is a trading business, holdover relief would mean no tax needs to be payable on the transfer and they should qualify for IHT relief. This could allow for some incentives like the paying of some dividends and some voting rights
  • As a partner in a partnership, a new partner could enjoy a percentage of profits rather than just a salary. In addition, they could enjoy a ‘pre-profit’ draw for any agreed targets or initiatives met
  • Generation Z are also incentivised by the businesses impact on society and its sustainable footprint

How can we help?

Many of our team have a farming family background and understand some of the challenges in the rural sector. To meet our team of experts, click here.

FEATURING: Martin Rossiter
Martin joined PKF Francis Clark as a partner in 2022, bringing with him more than 20 years experience of advising rural family businesses. He is… read more
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