Jobs in Logistics Are Booming
The number of active job postings in the European logistics sector has increased by 12 percent month-on-month and risen by 21 percent between March and June. What’s more, the top three best paying countries in the sector are all located inside of Europe, indicating the vertiginous growth of the sector. The problem isn’t a lack of jobs, but rather, the overwhelming shortage of workers, since currently, there are imbalances between supply and demand. What are the reasons for this conundrum, and what strategies can companies embrace to attract more recruits?
The Global Situation
Europe isn’t the only region with a logistics boom and a corresponding worker shortage. Companies in the US are expected to make $1.5 trillion in revenue by 2026, compared to Europe’s $1.25 trillion USD by 2029. These estimates are based on the increased demand for warehousing, work optimization, and government initiatives. One of the main causes of the increment in demand for warehouses is the popularization of e-commerce. Nearly 65% of the world’s population use the internet, meaning that about five billion users are exposed to online stores. Digital freight platforms, meanwhile, are streamlining the monetization process, adding to the growing demand for storage and shipment.
Truck Driver Shortages
The colossal demand for logistic services has led to overwhelming labor shortages, with the most notable problem being truck driver shortages—both in the EU and the US. While there are many potential drivers that could fulfil additional roles, a clear lack of incentivization has led to many vacancies remaining unoccupied for months. The average trucking company in the US, for instance, has a staff turnover rate of 97 percent. On other words, transport companies are being forced to constantly replace nearly every member on its team. Another concern is the average age of employees. Most truck drivers are around 49 years old, meaning that the sector is failing to connect with a large percentage of younger workers. What’s more, a trucker's lifestyle is highly demanding, with long work hours, unpredictable schedules, and time away from home considered part and parcel of the job. Clearly, issues such as the need for fair working schedules, greater flexibility, fair pay, and health and wellbeing must be addressed if potential recruits are to see truck driving as an attractive job.
Effects of the Pandemic
During the pandemic, drivers were able to spend considerably more time with their families, and many have chosen not to give up what they formerly considered a “privilege.” Many truckers considered alternative employment closer to home. There have, however, been many positive changes to the logistics industry since the pandemic. The lockdown incentivized companies to retrain and upskill workers, in order to keep them up to date with new advances in the sector—including those involving digitization and automation. Lifelong learning is also a powerful motivator for most workers, and is known to boost staff retention rates.
Strategies for Change
To address the labor shortages, recruitment strategies need to appeal to a younger, more diverse workforce. Sustainability is one area that needs to be given priority. Members of the Gen Z and millennial generations have spoken loudly and clearly: they are keen to form part of sustainable companies that prioritize a positive work-life balance. Companies can respond effectively by embracing renewable energy, minimizing waste, and dealing with local suppliers. Employers should also embrace a more holistic HR approach, offering flexible hours, health incentives such as gym memberships, and top-quality health insurance packages.
Women in Logistics
To save the logistics sector, companies must also tap into a huge potential labor pool: women. Strategies to embrace include providing equal pay to male and female drivers and offering flexible work schedules and childcare benefits to all workers. Companies should additionally ensure that their recruiting material reaches out to women truckers. Advertisements should make clear that they are searching for female truckers because they need them—not just because they want to reach a quota.
The logistics sector continues to experience growth and success around the globe. However, this prosperity is overshadowed by the critical issue of overwhelming labor shortages, particularly in the trucking industry. The main challenge lies in incentivizing truck drivers to apply for jobs and remain in them. Companies can attract more recruits by becoming more sustainable, providing attractive health and wellness incentives, and offering flexible schedules. The industry must also res-skill and educate its existing workforce, keeping them up to date with modern technology and processes. Finally, women truck drivers should be attracted through flexible working schedules and smart recruiting strategies.