What it does: Provides agribusiness services
Staff stats: 2000
The good bits: Living and working on the land
The not so good bits: Some long days
Hiring grads with degrees in: Sciences
The Elders story
What’s now Elders Limited was formed in 1839 by a Scottish immigrant to the then newly minted colony of South Australia. Alexander Elder was from a family involved in the merchant and shipping business back in Scotland. He got into agribusiness, specifically selling wool, in his adopted homeland. The company grew steadily during its first century. After WWII broke out, the British Government requisitioned all Australia’s wool but paid (in today’s money) billions to Elders for it. Elders went on to sell vast amounts of wool in the post-war period, hence the then popular observation that the Australian economy “rode on the sheep’s back”. Throughout this period, Elders make windfall profits.
In the exuberant 1980s, a cashed-up Elders merged with the jam company Henry Jones IXL and bought Carlton and United breweries. In 1992, it acquired the beef cattle-focused Australian Agricultural Company. In recent years, Elders has divested itself of non-core businesses and returned to its roots as a pure-play agribusiness. It now provides insurance, agri-finance, farming advice, financial planning and real estate services to Australia’s primary producers. Elders also operates an industry-leading beef cattle feedlot in NSW, an integrated beef supply chain in Indonesia and a premium food distribution model in China. The publicly listed company is still headquartered in Adelaide. It is currently the 260th largest company in Australia and had revenues of $1425 million in 2016.
Elders likes its staff to reflect the communities they operate in. It encourages applications “from a diverse range of people, backgrounds and experiences”. While farming has traditionally been a blokey occupation, Elders welcomes applications from female grads.
Elders supports a range of business, community, charitable and sporting organisations throughout rural and regional Australia. It has an employee contribution program called ‘Elders Give It’, which raises money for beyondblue, Landcare and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The recruitment process
Elders runs a two-year Graduate Agronomy program designed by agronomy experts. This lays the foundation for a range of careers with one of Australia’s oldest and most respected agribusiness organisations. If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll work at locations around the country and get exposure to a variety of cropping segments. In your second year, you’ll be able to specialise in a particular segment. You’ll be mentored by in-field experts and develop the skills to provide growers with cutting-edge agricultural technology. You can expect to be selling agronomic advice, crop protection products, and seed, fertiliser and plant-nutrition services.
To be considered for the program you’ll need to have a relevant tertiary qualification. You’ll also need to be confident, success-orientated and an excellent communicator and problem solver. Obviously, you’ll also need to be passionate about farming and interested in living a rural lifestyle.
The process starts with an online application. There is little publicly available information about what happens next. You should expect to have to do some interviews, both over the phone or via video conferencing then face to face. You’ll need to undergo a police check before being employed by Elders.
You won’t get a big city salary and benefits package but you’ll also avoid all the costs of living in a big city. Salaries vary depending on what area you’re in and your experience and earnings as you grow your clientele.
Elders provides its staff with opportunities to reach their full potential. It employs many industry experts who are happy to mentor others. Staff also have access to on-the-job training, online learning, webinars and in-house courses. The company likes to promote from within and has many senior managers who started out as trainees. Staff can specialise in livestock sales, wool sales, farm supplies, agronomy, financial services or real estate.
The vibe of the place
If you like friendly, unpretentious, salt-of-the-earth types you will enjoy working at Elders.
From the Employer:
"The Graduate Agronomy program has been specifically designed by our agronomy experts, providing excellent career opportunities within a leading national agribusiness organisation.
The two-year tailored program involves the opportunity to work across multiple locations in Australia, providing exposure to a variety of cropping segments. The second year of the program focuses on specialisation in a particular segment.
Supported by our in-field experts, graduates will develop the skills required to provide growers with the latest in agricultural technology. This includes crop protection products, seed, fertiliser and plant nutrition services through the provision of cutting edge agronomic advice.
Upon successful completion of the program, trainees are given the opportunity to apply for a permanent position with Elders.
Eligible applicants are those with tertiary qualifications, along with being confident, motivated to succeed, having sound management and communication skills, and a passion for agricultural production and the rural lifestyle.
When you join our team, you can be certain you are working for a truly progressive agribusiness offering diverse opportunities, backed by over 175 years of experience."