Is it true that the number of land-based jobs is falling?
Yes but the number of job vacancies in Scotland will rise over the next few years. That is because our farmers, foresters and other skilled people are getting older and not enough younger people have been developing the skills needed to replace them when they retire.
Will working on the land make me poor?
Not at all. For example, the average annual salary for people who work on farms is just over £25,500 only a little lower than the national UK average. A senior forestry worker is likely to earn over £31,000 and experienced greenkeepers and groundspeople can earn £50,000.
(source: Lantra careers factsheets)
Do people really enjoy working outdoors in all weathers?
Yes. According to a recent Farmers Weekly survey the majority of people working in agriculture would recommend it as a career choice. The Cabinet Office has also been researching the links between career choice and job satisfaction. It found that many outdoor jobs scored very highly for job satisfaction.
Can you really be a farmer if you are not from a farming family?
It can be difficult. Land is very expensive and small farms for lease have become increasingly rare but there are young people getting into farming with no family tradition or land to support them. A shortage of qualified and experienced people in the UK has led farmers to recruit from overseas and as the farming population ages there will be more job opportunities. There are also a number of schemes emerging to help you get started on your own. For example Forestry Commission Scotland has awarded 10 year tenancies in a pilot “starter” farm scheme. Share farming agreements are also on the increase. You can find out more about these here.