2024. This is the year that over half of UK logistics businesses expect to see skills shortages by. This statistic from CILT is a timely reminder of where the industry is at in terms of not only talent recruitment but also retention. The same survey reports that drivers, warehouse workers and office staff are the most urgent vacancies that require talent, while recruiting tech talent to fill skills gaps is also problematic. Another report highlights the disconnect between current opportunities and the next generation workforce, with demand for logistics employees 4.6 times higher than young people aspiring to work in the sector.
What’s clear is that there is a significant lack of information and resources when it comes to logistics opportunities for students and young people entering the workforce, and therefore it’s critical we begin engaging talent in new, innovative ways. With an aging workforce and a stunted talent pipeline, the industry is in desperate need of a solution to future-proof the logistics sector.
Inform and attract
Perhaps the biggest challenge to overcome is to make a hidden industry visible. While logistics is the fourth biggest sector in the British economy, there is very little general awareness or understanding of what we do. No one really wakes up and says ‘I want to be a logistician’, but it’s such a vital part of our economy – everything we consume, everything we wear, everything we have has to come through logistics. By informing the next generation about the massive opportunities available in our industry, we can begin to connect the talent to the professions that are crying out for it.
The great thing is we know it can work. Organisations like Novus have been leading the way for years in terms of positively engaging with students and connecting them to leading industry organisations for rewarding career opportunities. Graduate schemes, apprenticeships and government training support also provide fantastic opportunities for those seeking careers within the industry. What’s essential now is to keep the momentum going – while the introduction of government support in light of the 2021 HGV driver shortages was a positive response, it only addressed the issue once it had already happened. We need to start looking to the future, and this is where digital innovation can drive us forward.
Digital transformation is now a business-critical system in a market that demands a digital presence, operational efficiency and accuracy. The logistics sector however has adopted digital at a much slower rate compared to other sectors – perhaps as a result of the digital skills gaps in the workforce. If we are not attracting digital natives (e.g., Gen Z) we are lacking the skills to pursue the digital innovation and solutions that will keep the industry moving forward. So, it all comes back to how do we attract the next generation? We need to think digital.
Last month, Express Logistics had the pleasure of attending the launch of Talent Xchange, a new digital marketplace app created to inform, attract and recruit logistics talent. Talent Xchange was an idea conceived by Nick Winder in response to the skills shortages across the industry. In short, it’s a new recruitment resource for the industry that engages directly with the next generation of talent, in the way that they want to be engaged. It’s a digital solution that bridges the gap between where we are now, and where we want to be.
What Talent Xchange does differently is open up the industry to anyone who is interested to find out more and access opportunities available. It takes the traditional recruitment process back even further to engage with the next generation of talent and inform those that might not have even considered logistics as a career path yet. It aims to make the industry more visible for everyone.
A future-proof solution
With theTalent Xchange app now launched and in its pilot phase, it’s exciting to see where a responsive, adaptable and future-focused tool like Talent Xchange can take us. The next step is to work in collaboration with the industry to find out what resources we have, what can be done differently and how we can reach our common goal.
As an industry we need to come to terms with the fact that traditional ways of attracting and recruiting talent have not worked. The aim of this app is to find a solution that helps to solve a current problem but also equips the industry with what it needs to future-proof itself. Digital innovation, whether that be with Talent Xchange or otherwise, is absolutely essential to increase industry awareness, reach wider talent pools and more efficiently connect industry opportunities with promising talent.