Building great workplaces

We will build great workplaces for New Zealand’s most talented workforce

We will achieve this commitment by building a strong culture that values people and creates vibrant teams. This involves:

  • making it a priority that all our people are healthy, well and get home safe every day.
  • making dairy farming an inspiring profession that offers great career options for our people.
  • improving our on-farm workplaces through implementing a Workplace Action Plan committed to a work-life balance that improves business performance while rewarding the individual.
  • working with other primary sectors and education institutions to build integrated pathways that bring people into dairy careers with the skills and training needed for tomorrow’s food and farming sector.


  • Shape up – Shaping up means we offer jobs that attract a talented workforce because they are competitive in the wider job market and offer great personal growth, lifestyle and career opportunities so they stay. Our on-farm teams have the capability required to ensure our businesses are profitable and sustainable.
  • Change the job – Changing the job means our workplaces are continually evolving to ensure they are modern, productive and safe places that people enjoy coming to and working in.
  • Look in new places – Dairy farm employers can source the number of staff they need and farmers are open to employing people from diverse backgrounds, by looking in new places. Dairy farming is seen as a great place to work for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

What have we achieved?


The dairy sector is united in its understanding of this challenge and the importance of addressing it. In 2022, Dairy NZ and partners launched a 10-year strategy and action plan – Great futures in dairying: our plan for a resilient workforce.

It recognises three primary problems facing the dairy workforce:

  • it is not keeping enough people with the right skills
  • it is heavily reliant on people to operate
  • it is not attracting enough of the right people.

Many of dairy’s workforce problems are a consequence of shifting demographics – slowing population growth, an ageing workforce, and continued urban drift.

GoDairy recruitment

An intensive GoDairy short-term recruitment marketing campaign ran last year, aimed at inspiring, encouraging and recruiting younger people to dairy roles before calving.
Targeting 18-25-year-olds who are looking for employment, the campaign provides a channel for them to apply for a farming role this season, ultimately helping to reduce the workforce shortage.

What are we working on?


Supporting farmers to be competitive employers

Ensuring farmers can access information, options and tools that will help them make good decisions around how to become more competitive employers – from remuneration to team culture – with a focus on those areas that employees most value.

Keeping more employees

Putting in place a clear and agreed support programme for employees, especially new entrants, across the dairy sector to better keep them in jobs on farm. We want employees to feel supported in their jobs and in their communities.

Changing the job through technology and processes

Providing evidence and the methodology to support farmers to evaluate and adopt time-saving technology, and more productive business processes and ways of working to create more attractive jobs and workplaces.

Looking in new places to attract a more diverse workforce

We are actively working to move the diversity of our workforce to better represent New Zealand’s national population by building awareness and opportunities for people to experience dairy to see if there is a fit for them and their family.

Promoting dairy as a career to young people and career changers

We are supporting career changes and young people to discover a job in New Zealand dairy by talking about and showing them the compelling reasons to go dairy through the GoDairy campaign.

Reducing sprains and strains

Developing solutions which reduce the number of sprains and strains on New Zealand dairy farms to increase physical safety and productivity.

Health and Safety

DairyNZ are working with WorkSafe on reducing injuries. Most dairy farm injuries occur when handling animals, especially associated with milking. This first phase study will result in information on the factors that leads to injuries so that preventative actions can be developed and implemented, which will provide a safer work environment for people working on dairy farms.

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