Think about it.
According to the American Horse Council's (AHC) 2017 economic impact study, horse enthusiasts "directly contribute over $50 billion to America's Gross Domestic Product". Internationally, that number multiplies quite a bit!
From the racing industry, to equine businesses, competitions of all kinds, and recreation, the horse world directly impacts about 988,000 jobs!
For many years, professional stables have struggled to find and keep qualified barn workers. In fact, all areas of the industry from veterinary clinics, to sport horse stables, racing stables, and even equine transportation companies are stunted by the inability to keep qualified workers.
This problem has only increased since the pandemic in 2020.
With low staff numbers, not only are business owners having to change how they manage their farms and operations - but it's also taking a toll on the workers who stay.
Interestingly enough, this issue is NOT due to a lack of people with horse experience or education. The AHC accounted for 179 U.S. colleges and universities with Equine-related programs pumping out graduates each year; not to mention the vast majority of workers that come with experience rather than a formal education. Trust me, there are plenty of horse crazy people out there!
So, why are they not taking jobs in the industry ??
Sure, you could blame the low income,
...but that's not it.
Did you know
that income is never listed as the top reason why employees leave a company? While study results vary across different industries and careers, the general consensus is that
people don't leave jobs, they leave their bosses.
Humans will be loyal to a fault when they enjoy their work environment and feel appreciated. In such a passion-driven industry, shouldn't it be easy to find people who work hard and love horses?
In the last decade, large corporations have shifted focus to find ways to keep employees happy in their (sometimes mundane) roles. Burnout is not acceptable anymore. Work / Life balance and organizational culture are huge factors in the business world now.
The equine industry hasn't arrived at that conversation yet; probably because we haven't had resources on management development and employee retention strategies that fit what we do. Our industry is just different! The long hours and hard work are not likely to change, but burnout isn't due to hard work - it's due to a lack of enjoyment.
With nearly 1 million people employed directly in the equine industry... shouldn't we begin to focus on improving the organizational culture in those jobs? Shouldn't we work on developing teams among our staff and clients? Shouldn't we try to make this more enjoyable?
Working in the equine industry is not just a job, it's a lifestyle.
I think it's time to make it a lifestyle we can enjoy together.