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Environment,Plants and Animal care

The Job Market


Land based industries in general:

  • There are around 159,000 businesses  in total in England in land based industries
  • 97% of these businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
  • Around 1 million people are employed in the sector with as many as 500,000 volunteers also working on a regular basis.
  • Approximately 42% of the workforce are self-employed.
  • Of those employed, 79% work full time.  
  • The sectors workforce is predominantly male (69%). However, women predominate in some parts of the industry, such as animal care and floristry 
  • Employment is concentrated in skilled trade occupations (such as farmer, stockman, greenkeeper, groundsman) which account for 43% of all employment; and elementary occupations (such as farm worker) which account for a 16%. There is 12% of people employed as managers.
  • The biggest industry by number of employees is agricultural livestock (223,450) followed by animal care (189,650).
  • Almost all work areas need more young workers as many staff with management responsibility, especially in agriculture and the wildlife industry, are reaching retirement
  • The UK floristry market, which is worth over £1.5 billion, is made up of around 6000 businesses, usually small. Most sales are made via the phone/internet or as impulse buys from the supermarket - such competition threatens small, independent businesses
  • As more and more plants, flowers and seeds are available from around the world, gardeners, florists and garden centre workers need to increase their knowledge
  • Zoos and animal parks exist all over the UK. Large numbers of staff are employed at some of the most well known ones but animal-related opportunities may be less plentiful than other areas, such as catering, cleaning or retail
  • Some parts of the industry are busier at certain times - e.g. there may be little work in parks and gardens in the winter months (although tree surgeons may need to remove dangerous branches after winter storms); florists may be more in demand on Valentine's Day and at Easter and Christmas; and pony-trekking centres may only take on staff during the summer
  • Although many people do work regular hours, weekend and/or evening work is quite common in particular sectors - for instance, in some jobs dealing with animals (e.g. in rescue homes) and for sports turf staff who work for professional sports clubs
  • Industries which are forecast to grow include environmental conservation, landscaping; production horticulture, and sports turf management
  • The following areas are also considered important: animal health and welfare, food safety, environmental assessment, and waste management
  • There is likely to be increasing emphasis on animal welfare, which could mean the continued growth of pet sitters, dog walkers, and animal behaviour training (usually small businesses)
  • A few environmental and land-based projects are being developed, which could lead to interesting job opportunities
  • Although there are still many small, independent pet shops, the numbers are likely to decrease as more people shop online and the number of pet superstores increases
  • The need for the UK to increase the amount of food it produces, so that it relies less on other countries, means that agricultural methods will become even more sophisticated - graduates with technical (e.g. machinery), scientific research skills (e.g. agrichemicals) and business management skills will be in demand
  • Farms nowadays are not just producing food - they are increasingly helping to provide renewable energy in the form of biofuel crops
  • Other parts of this sector also require higher skilled workers, such as in environmental consultancy (environmental management, engineering, auditing and assessment and eco-design) and waste management - according to a 2011 report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK is aiming to become a 'zero waste' economy
  • Many more young workers are needed, especially those with level 3 qualifications or people who are willing to learn - for instance, over 40% of the agricultural workforce is aged 50 or more, according to Lantra

Lantra Factsheet 2010-2011
Agriculture in England


  • In England  there are approximately 24,000 agricultural crops businesses, particularly in regions on the eastern side of the country
  • The industry employs approximately 57,150 people
  • 97% of all businesses employ less than 10 people
  • Employment is dominated by men, with 77% of workers being male
  • Full time staff account for 84% of total employment 
  • A high proportion (56%) of the workforce is self-employed (national average 13%)

Livestock in England

  • In England there are approximately 36,530 agricultural livestock businesses
  • The industry employs approximately 223,450 people
  • 97% of these businesses employ less than 10 staff

About 50 per cent of farms in the UK supplement traditional incomes through farm diversification (Agriculture in the UK 2008, Defra). Diversification into novel and niche products to develop higher returns is also a growing trend (eg. rare breed meat, venison, vineyards, energy crops).

Sources: Lantra 2010-2011 and  IDBR 2008 / Defra, Agriculture in the UK, 2008

 Agricultural Technical Advisor/Consultants

  • Technical occupations currently represent only a small proportion of agriculture at just over two per cent. Demand for these technical roles is expected to increase over the coming years.
  • There are opportunities for technical advisors/consultants throughout the country. The Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS), a consultancy to land-based industries, employs many agricultural technical advisors/consultants. Independent firms of consultants also employ agricultural advisors/consultants.
  • Many farm consultancy firms will offer development schemes for graduates or assistant farm consultants. This enables them to be trained and work towards becoming a farm consultant by gaining experience in analysing farm accounts, technical specialisms and sales and marketing.

Farm Manager/Workers

  • Most jobs are in rural areas and so transport can be a problem - some farms offer accommodation as part of the job
  • Agriculture in general has an extremely high level of vacancies that are hard to fill -some are temporary and seasonable and have been filled in recent years by migrant workers, for example hand-picking crops when they are ready for harvesting
  • There is also now a greater demand for reliable, responsible and motivated people who can combine technical knowledge with practical skills
  • Farm managers may own their own farms or work for large estates, large food-producing companies, agricultural colleges, and scientific research institutes or public organisations.

 Production Horticulture

  •  Production (commercial) horticulture industry splits into the distinct areas of ornamental plant, flower and tree production (including retail nursery outlets) and food production. Also included are fruit, vegetable, salad, herb and potato production.
  •  There are 15,260 production horticulture businesses within the UK.
  • Most businesses are in England (14,100), particularly in the South East, South West and East of England.
  • The industry in the UK employs approximately 116,300 people, with almost 106,100 of those employed within England.
  • There are about 1,600 garden centers in the UK. Most garden centres employ from 30 to 200 staff and extensive on-the-job training is standard across the industry. A degree in horticulture remains the most popular route into garden-centre retailing at supervisory and management positions
  • Micro businesses, employing less than 9 staff, account for 94% of businesses.  Less than  1% of employees are employed in businesses  with 50 -249 employees
  • Full time staff account for 77% of total employment
  • A high proportion (56%) of the workforce is self-employed (national average 13%).

Source: Lantra 2010-2011

 Environmental Conservation

  • In the UK there are approximately 2,580 environmental conservation businesses, with around 2,000 being situated in England
  • The industry employs approximately 73,000 people in the UK, with approximately 61,400 of those being employed within England
  • Full-time staff account for 87% of total employment
  • Part-time staff account for 13% of total employment
  • Around 27% of businesses within environmental conservation employ more than 10 people. This is greater than the overall proportion for the environmental and land-based sector
  • Men account for 73% of employment
  • Those from a white ethnic group make up 99% of the workforce

 Sources: Lantra 2010-2011

Countryside Officers/Rangers

  • There are over 5,700 countryside officers/rangers within the UK. In addition  many people work as volunteers.
  • Employers include local government and national agencies, including Natural England, and local authorities including National Park Authorities. Charitable trusts, such as the Woodland Trust and the National Trust also have paid and voluntary positions.
  • The number of people working in this area is expected to grow each year and opportunities can be found in both urban and rural areas all over the UK. However, competition for paid work is intense and experience is essential.

Education and Interpretation Officers

  • Employers include organisations such as the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
  • There are also opportunities in local government departments, National Park Authorities, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in organisations such as the Forestry Commission, English Heritage and Natural England.
  •  Access into paid positions has been traditionally through a volunteer route with one or more of the above organisations. The organisation looks for commitment over a period of time in exchange for good training options and role responsibilities that will provide volunteers with the skills and experience needed to undertake the role as an employee.

Game and Wildlife Industry

  • In England there are approximately 11,460 businesses in the Game and Wildlife industry. (16,000) in the Uk
  • There are 31,000game and wildlife employees in the UK. (24,000) in England
  • Most businesses in the sector are small. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation research estimates that the average provider organisation has 19 paid workers (or 3.2 FTEs) and 3 volunteers/unpaid workers (or 0.4 FTEs).
  • There is more demand for game - with many supermarkets now selling game such as venison or pheasant.
  • Full-time jobs are being shed in favour of short term contract based employment. Self employment is becoming a key factor.
  • An aging workforce is also causing concern for long term stability.

Horticulture, Landscaping and sports turf

  • There are approximately 17,870 horticulture, landscaping and sports turf businesses within the UK.
  • The majority of businesses are in England (13,760), with a high proportion in the South East of England.
  • The industry employs around 177,000 people in the Uk
  • Men account for 84% of employment
  • Those from a white ethnic group make up 84% of the workforce
  • Full-time staff account for 78% of total employment
  • Part-time staff account for 22% of total employment
  • There are around 39,000 volunteers that work in this industry.

Source: Lantra 2010-2011


  • Around 170,000 people work in gardening and horticulture in the UK, including those who work as groundsmen and greenkeepers
  • Employers include local authorities, private companies and contractors, developers, voluntary sector organizations, sports clubs, theme parks, universities, colleges and large industrial companies, plant nurseries, heritage organisations such as the National Trust and private individuals
  • Gardening itself is becoming more popular, leading to greater demand for gardening services. Many local authorities contract out their gardening and horticultural work to landscaping contractors
  • Self-employment prospects are good, particularly in areas such as landscape maintenance, contracting and design
  • There is keen competition for jobs.


  • There are around 15,000 greenkeepers working in the UK
  • Employers include private golf clubs, local authority leisure departments which operate public golf courses, hotels with golf facilities and ground maintenance contractors
  • Although entry to this career is competitive, opportunities are available throughout the UK and overseas
  • Vacancies may be advertised on customer notice boards at golf courses as well as on the websites of local authorities and other employers. They also appear on specialist golf websites, such as, and on the website of The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).



  • In the UK there are approximately 560 aquaculture businesses, with around 240 being situated in England
  • The industry employs approximately 4,200 people, with only around 1,500 of those being employed within England
  • Automation in larger fish farms is pointing towards fewer but more highly skilled staff, with high levels of technical knowledge and skills.

Fisheries management

  • In England there are approximately 120 businesses, in the Fisheries Management industry
  • The industry directly employs around 350 people in England
  • 66% of businesses and clubs also make use of volunteers to sustain their activities
  • most employers in fisheries management have other business activities in additon (e.g. large estates)
  • The average age of employees is between 45-54 whilst only 1% are aged between 16-24 years
  • Virtually all of the workforce are male
  • The Environment Agency (EA) is the largest single employer of people in freshwater fisheries work in Britain. Other employers include the privatised water companies, the Department of the Environment (Defra) and individual private commercial fisheries.

Source: Lantra Fisheries Management information 2010-2011

Fish Farmers

  • Job opportunities are often in rural areas, mainly in southern and central England, North Yorkshire and southern, western and central Scotland. Salmon sea-cage farms are mainly located in Scotland.
  • Competitive industry with few job opportunities.
  • Fish farmers may work for private businesses and estates, angling organisations, garden centres specialising in aquatics, the Environment Agency and sometimes water supply companies.

 Animal care

  • There are about 20,240 animal care businesses in the UK, with around 17,060 being situated in England
  • The industry employs approximately 222,850 people in the Uk, with 189,650 of those employed within England
  • Almost three quarters of the animal care industry accounts for pet shops and pet supplies, boarding establishments, and dog clipping and grooming businesses.
  • Most businesses - 81% employ less than 10 people with only 3% employing more than 50.
  • Just over two fifths (43%) of business owners/managers are aged 35-44 years and one third (33%) of employees are aged 25-34
  • Women account for 71% of employment
  • 87% of the workforce are employed full-time and 13% part-time
  • Those from a white ethnic group make up 99% of employees and 100% of employers
  • 3% of employees and less than 1% of employers consider themselves to have a disability
  • Volunteers are a significant part of the workforce within the animal care industry. Sources: Source: Experian

Lantra: Animal care 2010-2011

 Animal Physiotherapists

  • Many animal physiotherapists are self-employed - based at home or in a small surgery, and travel to and from their clients' premises. Others are employed by animal hospitals and clinics and in larger veterinary practices throughout the UK.
  • Animal physiotherapy is a small profession but the number of animal physiotherapists is growing. There is strong competition for the work available.

Animal Technology

The animal technology industry is about the care and welfare of animals bred to be used in scientific research and the carrying out of authorised procedures. Research using animals in the UK comes under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and each year in Britain three million animals are used in scientific procedures. Over 80% of the animals used are rats or mice.

The industry is often portrayed in a negative light; however, animal research provides many benefits to society and to animals themselves. For example, 80% of the animals are used for medical, dental and veterinary research, which in turn informs the development of new drugs and vaccines to improve health and quality of life. The others are used for the protection of people e.g. workers in industry.

Animal Technologists/Technicians work in a variety of areas; universities, pharmaceutical companies, medical or veterinary colleges, teaching hospitals, research institutes, government departments (e.g. Defra), or for special laboratory animal breeders.

  • In the UK there are currently:
    • 232 Home Office approved research establishments
    • An estimated 4,000 - 5,000 Animal Technologists
    • Around 22 Home Office inspectors
    • Approx 15,500 Home Office personal license holders
  • In England employers are mostly based in the South East, the East, and London, though there are some major in vivo employers in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside.
  • Turnover in animal technology roles is typically around 5-10%.
  • about 70% of employers expect their in vivo workforce will either increase by at least 5% or remain stable over the next five to ten years.
  • Industrial employers believe that they will need to recruit between 140 and 280 animal technologists annually.
  • Many of those working in the education sector are also close to retirement age so a higher staff turnover is likely in the coming years as these staff are replaced.

Source: Lantra 2010 -2011


  • In the UK there are approximately 19,000 equine businesses, with around 16,340 being situated in England
  • The industry employs approximately 41,220 people, with around 35,550 of those being employed within England
  • The industry is dominated by micro-businesses (85%) employ between 1 and 9 staff
  • Small businesses (especially riding stables) depend on a high degree of voluntary labour and payment in kind.

Source: Lantra 2010-2011


  • There are approximately 4,760 veterinary and ancillary businesses within the UK. The majority of businesses are in England (3,940).
  • The industry employs around 47,500 people, with 40,850 of those employed within England
  • 69% of all practices employ less than 10 staff
  • The industry workforce is young, with 27% aged 25-29.
  • The industry is dominated by female workers who account for 80% of all employees -this rises to 98% of veterinary nurses
  •  (62%) are in full-time employment (37.5 hours or more, excluding on-call and overtime).

Source:Lantra 2010-2011

 West Midlands information

  •  There are approximately 18,820 businesses and around 100,000 people employed in the sector 
  • 37% of the workforce is self-employed and 81% is employed full-time.  72% of the workforce is male
  • 97% of the businesses in the West Midlands have a workforce of 10 staff or less
  • The sector has an ageing workforce with 40% aged 50 years and over 
  • Those from a white ethnic group make up 99.6% of the workforce
  • 14% of the workforce does not hold any formal qualifications

In the West Midlands area there are also

  • 2,300 agricultural crops businesses and  2,180 employees
  •  5,180 agricultural livestock businesses and 34,200 employees
  • 1,680 animal care businesses and 20,100 employees
  •  2,520 equine businesses and 4,150 employees
  • 220 environmental conservation businesses and 6,100 employees
  • 20 fisheries management businesses and 50 employees
  • 900 game and wildlife businesses and 1,700 employees
  • 1,560 horticultural, landscape and sports turf businesses and 7,900 employees
  • 1,560 production horticultural businesses and 14,850 employees
  • 380 veterinary businesses and 2,900 employees