Why is it So Hard to Find a Good Ranch Manager?

Some time towards the end of last year (2014), the person who had acted as the manager at our ranch for many years announced that he was considering leaving the job, to pursue other interests. He was therefore giving us six moths to look for another ranch manager. When I received that notice, I thought that six months would be more than enough to recruit, hire and induct a new manager for the ranch. But experience proved me wrong. As time went by, I began to realize just how hard it can be to find a good ranch manager.

After the previous manager gave us six months to look for a replacement, we placed adverts in various recruitment websites, as well as various agricultural publications, inviting people to apply for the ranch manager job. Then we started receiving applications. And this is when I came to realize that very few of the people who applied for the job could actually be regarded as proper candidates for it.

A good number of the applicants turned out to be people who had studied business management, and who imagined that that was enough to make them ranch managers.

Others had not studied anything to do with management, but they had worked in ranches for various durations of time, and they imagined that that would make them qualified to work as ranch managers.

Then there were the others who had general degrees in agriculture, and who felt that such qualifications prepared them adequately to work as ranch managers.

Finally, we did get a couple of applicants who had indeed studied ranch management, but who had no real life experience whatsoever; being recent graduates.

As we sifted through the applications, we came to realize that finding a good ranch manager can be very hard. In the end, we had to recruit one of the fellows who had studied ranch management, but who lacked experience, in the hope that we could induct him well, train him further and hopefully be able to do some meaningful work with him in the long run. The whole experience did, however, teach me that finding a good ranch manager can be very hard: as there seems to be a very limited supply of such professionals in the labor market at the moment.