The Logistics Sector: Face-lift needed as youth injection vital for our future
Each day, as we work, rest and play a dedicated band of operators work tirelessly 24-7-365, to bring us our everyday essentials and luxuries. They’re busy delivering goods to our doorsteps, which keep us alive, thriving and smiling. And yet, the unsung heroes of our logistics industry go mostly without thanks.
Take a look around the room you are in now. Look at every item in it. From the large to the very small, each one will no doubt, at some point, have been in a lorry and a warehouse. How often do we just go to the store and pick up our items without a thought for how they got there?
According to the Road Haulage Association, the sector is the UK’s fifth largest employer and is worth an enormous £124 billion GVA (Gross Value Added) to the UK economy.
So, why is this hugely significant industry so undervalued?
For over ten years, the industry has struggled to recruit young and able staff. Earlier this year, the Road Haulage Association estimated the driver shortage to be more than 55,000. The crisis is partly due to the demographics of workers in the sector, with a vast number of people nearing retirement age, many of these being men.
The sector is crying out for new talent – both males and females, but the youth of today seem oblivious to the many and varied opportunities that the logistics sector can offer. Due to a lack of information or pro-marketing for the industry, young people aren’t leaving school or college to become the next generation of logisticians, drivers, planners, or warehouse operatives we so desperately need. In fact, our essential lorry drivers are often viewed in a negative light.
Experts have been in talks with suggestions for attracting the skilled workforce the industry demands. Drastic measures are called for. Here is a list of proposals made by logistics specialists in light of growing concerns.
Think strategically to create a more engaging career path
Providing engaging career prospects, across all educational levels could potentially attract girls and boys; piquing their interest in an essential but often forgotten sector. Offering graduate training and “warehouse to wheels” schemes may also attract a broader range of young people.
Improve the industry image
The biggest issue is the industry’s poor image and the impact it’s having on bringing fresh talent into the sector. Many have suggested a total industry re-brand or face-lift; presenting itself as an innovative industry which fully embraces the latest technologies. Others feel that logistics purposes are mostly unknown and therefore unappreciated by the general public. Positioning the industry as valued and cutting-edge will deem it more appealing to younger people.
Increasing salaries is a sure-fire way of attracting more young talent into the logistics arena. Bonus-related incentives to reward prosperous candidates should be considered, particularly for industry-specific apprenticeship schemes.
Improve working environments
There are several areas that can be assessed to help improve conditions for drivers. Hours need to be more flexible and regulated, and shift patterns and social enhancements need addressing.
Financing in technology, which enhances customer service and streamlines operations while making the job easier for staff, is a definite win. From providing electric vehicles to introducing Live Management dashboards – investing in technology is a cost-saving and talent-attracting asset.
Logistics operators offering licence training as part of the package may work as another bargaining chip. Moreover, if the Government introduced incentives or grants for new drivers, the driving sector could see a radical influx of talent.
Engage with youth through the education sector
The logistics business needs to attractively sell the sector to youngsters. More must be done to engage with the education system. Logistics professionals, of both sexes, going into schools from Primary through to Secondary to educate, engage and enlighten the children and students about the opportunities available within our industry.
Promoting valued apprenticeships that nurture skills and offer progression, needs to happen. The variety of possible positions and pay scales needs advertising and promoting to school leavers, whilst also pushing for better careers advice to promote the diversity and attractiveness of the industry.
In a nutshell
In short, the logistics industry must unite to breathe fresh life into this vital but struggling industry. Collaboration and innovation are desperately needed. With many workers in the sector nearing retirement, the public must be made aware of the imperative need for a logistics youth injection. Moreover, society needs to recognise and celebrate the industry’s value as a whole.
At Masters Logistical we value all of our employees from drivers to warehouse operatives, planners to managers. We want to be at the forefront of promoting our essential industry. Join us. Be loud. Be proud. Please share. #talentdrive