The labor market is one of the many things that has been roiled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but even before the outbreak, logistics managers were having a difficult time finding and hiring qualified workers.
Given the rise of e-commerce, logistics is more important than ever and the need for logistics talent is only going to grow. As people continue to embrace shopping online, supply chains will proliferate, and warehouse operations will get bigger.
Forces in the Labor Market
There are a number of factors tightening the market for logistics talent, including greater competition, rising pay and changing shiftwork.
Employers of logistics personnel haven’t just been competing with each other for qualified workers. They’ve also been competing with other industries, such as construction and manufacturing.
The intense competition for talent has partly been driven by rising pay. As competition for the same pool of workers has intensified, it has driven up pay and pay expectations. Companies looking to hire for logistics positions must therefore offer a premium just to get interest from prospective candidates.
An increasing dependence on the supply chain has also increased the need for round the clock shift work. The need to staff odd shifts has further complicated the process of sourcing logistics talent.
Developing Internal Talent
In the face of staffing adversity, some companies are looking to source logistics talent from within.
In a labor market where few available candidates possess the experience and skills for their various open positions, logistics divisions and organizations are doing more. Part of this increased effort includes promoting supply chain careers as worthwhile, long-term options for many different people. Logistics recruiters are also trying to reshape the perception of a supply chain working environment; that it is low-tech and low skill. There is a massive effort to let the public know there is a lot of room for career growth within the supply chain.
Unwilling to stand idly by while the competition grabs candidate after candidate, some employers are getting more proactive in finding, hiring and even cultivating homegrown supply chain talent. Sometimes, that means training an existing warehouse worker on ways to handle management responsibilities; planting seeds for a succession plan.
The grooming of future leaders is just one essential exercise that all supply chain leaders ought to be implementing. Leaders should also be cross-training employees on the different aspects of their logistics operation, in the hopes of developing well-rounded employees who can deal with the challenges of the modern supply chain. Job rotation is an effective approach to achieving this strategic goal: Logistics staff members will work for a year or two years in one position, and then rotate to a different role. This doesn’t just help grow an organization’s internal applicant pool, but it also keeps staff members from becoming stagnant.