Attracting Young Talent to Digital Farming
Every company is founded on its resources, particularly on human capital. Our people fuel our success. Attracting young and talented scientists is one way in which we stay innovative and relevant. But how do we get good candidates onboard? The war for talent is in full swing. If we aim to win over the best, it will no longer be enough to offer them just a well-paid job. Many young talents want more than that.
It starts with the purpose of their work. Today’s young professionals want to be part of the solution to a global challenge. Luckily, we can provide them with that. At Bayer, they can conquer nothing less than the challenge of feeding the world. We do our part by developing digital farming solutions that make farming more efficient and more environmentally-friendly. At the same time, we share our agronomic knowledge with the world’s poorest farmers, enabling them to tackle their challenges and grow their business.
But there is more to it than that: Young talents also expect a different work environment. They look for non-hierarchical, open and dynamic environments in which they can grow and develop. That’s why we need to cultivate a start-up culture that welcomes young entrepreneurs. What does this mean? We need to build a young, multidisciplinary and highly connected team that isn’t afraid of unusual ideas and concepts.
Global Head Digital Farming at Bayer
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At Bayer, we are going one step further. Through contacting universities and schools, we are able to connect to potential candidates already at an early stage. We attempt to inspire them to consider a career in agriculture even before they hit the job market. Bayer’s International Fellowship Program, for example, offers students and apprentices tailor-made financial support to pursue their innovative projects. And after they acquire their degrees, additional offerings for postdocs provide further support by giving them opportunities to deepen their research with exciting projects, publications, and visits to renowned institutions.
Let me share Julius Heuchert’s story with you. He is a doctoral candidate and has been working on his doctoral thesis at Bayer over the last four months. The biochemistry student is researching the precise ways in which certain stressors like drought and fungal infections impact wheat crops. This is exactly what connects us. We want to know everything there is to know about crops. How do they react to changes in their surroundings (e.g., temperature, sun, soil, water), to pests and to diseases on a genetic level? We combine this information with other data – for example, weather or soil data – to create digital solutions that give farmers precise advice on how and when to treat their crops. This individual treatment is the perfect foundation for a higher yield, and Julius’ research is helping to make it possible. Yet he wouldn’t be able to conduct all the studies by himself or cross his results against other data. We support him by giving him access to our resources, whether that means talking to Bayer scientists, using our laboratories, or accessing other research results or IT capabilities.
Attracting people like Julius is particularly important for Digital Farming. We need not only innovative ideas, new approaches, and employees who think outside the box, but also young talent that pushes and challenges our vision through their intimate knowledge and understanding of new technologies.
We hope to be able to find other young talents who are passionate and want to be active players in the quest for solutions for sustainable agriculture and ultimately for food security for all.