UK farm managers take home £53k a year

Increasing responsibilities of farm managers has seen their average pay rise to £53,000, a survey says

A rural farming scene
A rural farming scene

Farm managers are earning an average salary of just over £53,000.

That’s the figure from the Institute of Agricultural Management’s latest survey which, it claims, justly rewards the managers’ multi-tasking skills and growing responsibilities.

Two-thirds of managers also receive rent-free housing which, together with other non-cash benefits, is estimated to be worth an average £12,600.

However, despite this average salary figure being up almost 9% since the previous survey in 2012, and the additional rewards, the profession lacks new blood.

Only 14% of farm managers were aged under 40, compared with 63% in the Institute of Agricultural Management’’s first survey in 1969.

The fact that farm management is an ageing profession was further confirmed with 33% having 15 years or fewer of experience in the position compared with twice as many in 1997.

Institute of Agricultural Management chairman Tim Brigstocke said: “Farm management has undergone a sea change in earnings in the last five years to a salary which nowadays reflects the very skilled position, the whole chain of responsibilities for both legislation/regulation and profitability and the fact it’s a seven-days-a-week job.

“However despite the rightful rewards, it is an ageing profession. The vast majority of farm managers are between 40 and 59 years, which indicates that the industry needs to attract new managers to cover the loss of those nearing retirement age.”

The survey, which took in the jobs and pay of 100 managers, reported 70% were employed by private individuals or family trusts, while the number employed by land management companies fell slightly to 11%. Area farmed continued to increase with 42% responsible for more than 3,000ha compared with just 7% in 1969.

Farm management continues to be an exclusively male occupation. One-third of farm mangers were graduates, while the remainder had a diploma or some formal qualification.

Despite an increase in business values and the complex nature of their associated management, the occupation continues to be very hands-on management style.

The survey reported that almost all managers were involved in day-to-day organisation and there was an increase this year in the total responsibility in most areas, from trading livestock and crops to machinery buying and staff recruitment and dismissal.

Tim added: “Farm management is a unique and hugely-rewarding position for both genders and one which will enable them to progress their careers with the provision of additional skills and knowledge in order to develop the business.”

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