The first quarter of the year is often a busy time for recruitment in the transport & logistics industry, but this year the UK market is experiencing new challenges and seeing new trends. There are many factors contributing to this change, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the UK’s recent exit from the European single market sitting at the forefront.
These factors are impacting many areas of the industry, but while there are new challenges to overcome, exciting opportunities have also been created going into 2021, particularly when it comes to recruitment. In this article, we will discuss what some of these challenges and trends are, and how your business may overcome them.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has directly affected the value chain process. With national lockdowns and border closures restricting the movement of goods, this has caused a stir for transport & logistics firms. Ocean and air transportation segments have been hit the hardest, however, road transport has remained least affected by these restrictions. This is because roads have continued to be in operation in most countries (with the exception of those under severe lockdowns). In fact, we have actually seen road transport capacity become constrained, particularly in the UK through additional demand for services under lockdown. Essentials like food and medical items have seen some of the biggest surges in demand, which has led to extreme delivery delays and driver shortages as the industry struggles to meet this demand.
As online sales continue to rise, there are more and more employment opportunities appearing throughout the supply chain. According to ONS vacancies data, transport, logistics, and warehouse job adverts were 75% above average in 2020, with a rapid rise in logistics vacancies since July 2020.
This presents its own challenges for recruitment however, which we discuss below.
As the demand for goods continues to rise, the transport & logistics industry has been left seeking capacity to keep inventory moving during lockdown. Yet one of the biggest challenges lies in actually filling new roles.
There is a significant shortage of labour in the industry, especially in the UK where Brexit has started to deter EU workers, leading to lower retention and recruitment of EU staff. The effects of this can be seen in Logistics UK’s 2020 Skills and Employment Report, with 23.6% fewer EU workers being employed in 2020. This impacts a sector which was already struggling to maintain driver numbers due to older workers going into retirement and a lack of younger drivers entering the workforce.
Employers are now seeking ways to attract candidates to these roles that urgently need to be filled.
With such significant spikes in demand and restrictions on transporting goods, it is proving challenging to move goods when facilities are receiving twice their normal volume. This is made especially difficult when employees are not accustomed to the process, and has led to the need to hire the right experienced candidates, who require minimal training, the first time around. According to The Employer Skills Survey (ESS), employers in transport & logistics are struggling to fill roles due to lack of skills, qualifications, and experience. This is seen across many areas of the business, with higher-skilled roles proving more challenging to fill than those considered lower-skilled.
Recruiters in the sector are turning to more advanced methods of talent attraction to fill these kinds of roles. This can be seen with our client Whistl, leading delivery management company in the UK, recently strengthening their Fulfilment and Contact Centre Management Team through new, high quality hires.
The challenges discussed bring about a common theme that the transport & logistics sector is going through a particularly busy period. With this comes the need to improve efficiencies within businesses to boost competitiveness in a time full of opportunity. This need relates to all areas of the business, and recruitment is no exception.
Many firms are finding themselves needing roles filled quickly, but are struggling with capacity to undergo the hiring process. This is where tools to make this process as efficient and successful as possible are gaining traction, and where a talent acquisition platform like Smart Recruit Online can help.
Our award-winning talent acquisition platform is ideal for businesses in transport & logistics right now because it is designed to help solve the challenges discussed in this article, by simplifying the recruitment process.
The key issues of time and resources needed for the hiring process are drastically reduced with the SRO platform. Through intelligent software our clients enjoy less than 16 days average time to offer, so those important roles can get filled and free up capacity in your business. Better yet, the software sits behind a simple, easy to use dashboard that your team can use with very little training, with no extra work needed to set up.
Attracting and hiring the right candidates has never been more important, with little room given for error as demand rises in the industry. You can ensure you get it right the first time around, with our talent attraction and screening tools designed to help you evaluate applicants and bring quality hires into the business. Whether you need an experienced driver to keep up with demand, or are looking to fill more managerial positions, our platform is designed to help.
Many, if not all industries have been impacted by the current situation in some form – but transport & logistics has seen unprecedented demand whilst also facing new challenges across all areas of the industry. With a ‘new normal’ yet to be determined, it is clear that the transport & logistics staff are the foundations of continued success, and Smart Recruit Online is keen to help support this success.
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