The evolution of logistics recruitment

The Evolution of Logistics Recruitment
In an increasingly volatile and shifting world, organisations across all industries are being forced to address new challenges; re-examine how they leverage talent within their organisations; and implement new business processes, to ensure they become more agile and ready for change. Against this backdrop, many logistics organisations are recognising that they need to re-think their recruitment and workforce planning strategies, providing lessons that can benefit all sectors.

At a time when our ‘always-on’ economy means that consumers expect responsiveness 24 hours per day, logistics companies are under pressure to deliver a more efficient service than ever before. As demand continues to intensify, skills shortages are making it increasingly difficult for the logistics sector to keep up.

This isn’t just a concern for logistics employers themselves. It’s a concern for all organisations that rely on the logistics sector to deliver their business. With this in mind, it’s mutually beneficial that organisations in all sectors do all they can to help logistics overcome the hiring challenges they currently face.

Six key trends impacting logistics recruitment

Let’s take a look at six key trends which are significantly impacting on the logistics sector’s ability to attract and retain skilled talent:

  • Changing consumer behaviour – Consumers are increasingly opting to buy online instead of in-store. Not only are they demanding increased speed and better value for money, but they also want their deliveries to arrive exactly when and where they want, often within a precise timeslot that they can track online. Achieving this requires investment in technology and exact workforce planning processes to ensure they can meet demand without creating inefficiencies.
  • Brexit – Logistics has a significant reliance on non-UK talent. While we cannot be sure exactly how Brexit will affect future talent availability in the years ahead, any reduction in the number of EU workers will certainly exacerbate current pressures even further. Employers, industry bodies and the government must work together to promote the attractiveness of the UK as a labour destination for logistics workers
  • Aging workforce – As workers reach retirement age, there are not enough young people entering the logistics workforce to replace them. More needs to be done to attract young people into the industry. At the same time, offering flexible working opportunities and seasonal contracts may help to attract retirees back into the industry as so-called ‘Boomerang Workers’, so organisations can retain their skills on a more casual basis
  • Gender imbalance – Employers need to bridge the gender divide and support more females into their organisation. Breaking down the entrenched male culture that exists in logistics is critical, if it is to attract females from other sectors who have transferrable skills. Digitisation will force many workers to reconsider their career path in order to remain employable. To achieve gender parity, we need to make sure talent across both genders perceive logistics as an attractive destination.
  • Digitisation – Telematics and planning systems are used across logistics, but historically the industry hasn’t always made widespread investment in technology. And while great strides have been made in recent years, the industry is still a long way from being digital-first. While we cannot slow the rate of technological advancement, we can focus on investing in employees’ skills to increase the resilience of both people and organisations. Now’s also the time for organisations to review how technology can be harnessed to ensure smarter resource planning and utilisation.
  • Evolving employee expectations – The employer-employee relationship is fundamentally changing. Skilled talent have more power and choice, and are being increasingly selective in when, how and where they work. Companies who are adaptable to alternative ways of working will be better able to secure the talent they require. After all, many professional drivers are opting for temporary roles over full time, permanent positions, as they enjoy the flexibility of picking and choosing when and where they work, across different assignments and pay scales.

What’s next?

Business success relies on staying one step ahead of these trends. The logistics industry already has a significant shortage of professional drivers. If these trends aren’t effectively managed, this skills shortage may worsen – hampering organisations’ ability to meet customer demand.

That’s where a recruitment partner like Manpower can help. We have over 40 years’ experience in recruiting for the warehouse and logistics sectors, ensuring they have access to the skills they require in the years ahead. By anticipating and adapting to the future labour market, we build compelling attraction and retention campaigns that enhance our clients’ position as an employer of choice.

These days, candidate attraction efforts need to be more targeted, more proactive and more relevant if an organisation is going to stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t just mean attention-grabbing creative adverts and an engaging online presence. It’s also important to physically get out into the community and deliver your message face-to-face, too. By combining an optimised blend of different communication channels with an authentic and distinctive employer brand, logistics firms will be better able to build a robust talent pipeline.

Employers must recognise that many applicants may not have worked as a professional driver before. They may not immediately appear to be an ideal fit based on their CV alone. However with a comprehensive assessment process, they can uncover the potential of individuals who may have less practical experience, but who do have all the right personality traits to be a success in the role – people who are diligent, remain cool under pressure and have excellent attention to detail and planning skills.

During peak demand periods, competition for drivers and warehouse workers skyrockets. So applicants need to be engaged with straight away; hiring decisions need to be made promptly; and a comprehensive onboarding strategy is required to ensure they don’t look elsewhere while they wait for their start date. Once a candidate has been onboarded, it’s critical that they remain engaged in their role. After all, turnover is extremely costly for logistics organisations, particularly during peak demand period. Despite this, too little time and attention is paid to managing the employee experience. A culture and mindset of retention should be embraced company-wide, as a happier workforce leads to a better customer experience. To achieve this, getting the overall worker experience right, with the right balance of pay, conditions, environment and care, is critical.

In a volatile world of work, logistics employers must ensure their workforce strategy is ready for an uncertain and unpredictable future. Whether you need professional drivers, warehouse operatives, supply chain managers, or someone else entirely – Manpower has the reach and expertise to secure the talent you need, for both peak demand periods and day-to-day operations.

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This article first appeared in the eighth edition of The Human Age Newspaper.