The needs of the logistics sector have changed in terms of recruitment. Firstly, there’s been a reduction in the pool of unskilled labour now that we’re no longer in the EU. That, combined with ever-increasing demand due to the boom in online retailing and home shopping, means logistics companies are under pressure to attract and retain the people they need to maintain efficiencies.
One avenue to success is proactive relationships with recruitment agencies like Impact Recruitment, which has offices in Northampton, Wellingborough and Peterborough, and provides temporary staff to some of the biggest names in the sector.
Here, Senior Account Managers Lewis James and Sophie Sharman give their take on how the industry has changed, the issues it faces and what companies need to do to attract the workers they need.
What are the difficulties facing those in the logistics sector trying to attract people in the current market?
Lewis: The sector has changed and evolved quite dramatically in recent times. One of the most important things now for companies is to make sure they support workers to keep them. The supply of EU workers isn’t there and people have more choice. If someone has a 12-week trial period, the company doesn’t want them leaving after 10 weeks because they have found something better, that’s a waste of money in fees and wages only to end up having to go through the whole process again. They have to be providing an incentive to stay.
Sophie: When you think that it’s not so long ago that people were literally walking in off the street looking for work. That doesn’t happen so much now, partly because there are fewer people looking for work and partly because it’s more difficult to call in at an office like they used to. I also think that people are more interested in career progression. They want to know that there are opportunities for promotion, to move on to something better and like some reassurance from the company that they could move up the career ladder.
Do recruitment priorities need to change and, if so, in what way?
Lewis: I think companies need to see that they have to offer more. Rates of pay are vitally important. Some have realised that if they offer more money once someone has finished their trial period, even if it’s just enough to acknowledge that they’ve proved their value, it makes a lot of difference. Other incentives are good, but at the end of the day, paying well is a major factor in staff retention.
Sophie: As well as that, companies that offer attractive working conditions, no night shifts and extras like subsidised canteens or an on-site gym, will find it easier to retain people.
What can recruitment firms do to help companies achieve that?
Sophie: We are in the middle, between the candidate and the client, and from the client’s point of view, they need us to make sure that the candidates we put forward are the right ones. When there isn’t as big a pool to choose from, we are more selective and try to make sure that the person we do find is a good fit for the employer. Once we’ve done that, we help with inductions and onboarding so that there’s a good level of communication and support between the candidates and clients. We tell them what candidates are saying they want and advising them on what they need to do to retain good workers.
Lewis: We also take a lead in making sure that vacancies are effectively advertised, mainly these days through social media, to maximise their chances of finding the right people. We’ve got teams working on that on behalf of our clients to target the people they need.
What message does the logistics industry need to get out there about the career opportunities available within their sector?
Lewis: At Impact we’ve done a few events to help our clients promote logistics as a career. I’m not sure youngsters even think about a career in logistics, maybe they don’t know how to get into it, or what jobs there are. But there are so many opportunities to get into high-paid positions and they need to be promoted well.
There is a career path there if you want it, into management roles and senior jobs, and it can be quite varied, but we have to do more to get that message across to kids in schools and colleges. Apprenticeships are popular, but people tend to associate them with trades – plumbing and building – and not with the logistics sector, but logistics companies can take advantage of the apprentice scheme and bring new talent into the industry that way. This is a buoyant, growing industry and we should all be working together to get that message across.
Sophie: Logistics is one of the biggest sectors in Northamptonshire and it needs to look to the future because it is only going to get bigger. When you think about how important it is – almost every part of our lives relies on goods being delivered around the country, to our homes or to retail, businesses, hospitals, etc. So many things in our lives have been through the logistics system, it is vital to keep it going.
Contact Impact Recruitment on 01604 239555 or 01933 440285 or visit www.impactrecruitment.co.uk