Blog by Richard Chapman-Harris, Diversity Advisor, Race for Opportunity
How to Keep Moving
Referencing ‘Transportation and Logistics 2030 – Volume 5: Winning the Talent Race (2013) by PwC and the Institute for Future Studies and Knowledge Management (IFK)’
Everyone wants to get somewhere, physically and emotionally. Personal goals are a subject we are all familiar with, but the journey isn’t always as exciting as the destination – the same unfortunately goes for the transport and logistics sector. We want things to ‘just get there’ but not many of us want to know the details or do the transporting. Trains, lorries and shipping crates – dare I say it – are not sexy. But investment in effective transportation is absolutely essential for any thriving economy, especially when operating with businesses across regions or globally. Dynamic logistics opportunities and creative solutions are therefore necessary, but how does the Transportation and Logistics sector attract the best to keep it moving?
Below I have summarised a recent report which outlines these challenges and poses some solutions to help ‘things get there.’ Fundamental to the aims of the sector is helping ‘people get here’ and positioning T&L as a genuine, lucrative and enjoyable career path.
T&L executives need to make improving the sector’s image a top priority. Positive engagement with best practice for human resourcing and enforcing ethical values are a key avenue for development. Employer branding is key to overcoming image challenges and doesn’t only help increase attractiveness of companies to potential new joiners, it also strengthens retention, motivation and satisfaction of existing employees. PwC reports that 17% of respondents would not want to work in the transportation and logistics industry solely based on its image (Millennials At Work, 2011). This will further compound talent and skill shortages already affecting the industry - Manpower (2011) reports that drivers belong to the top 10 jobs employers have difficulty filling among 36 countries!
The T&L sector needs to be supported through Educational development; if people choose to study T&L related courses this will bolster attraction to and performance of the industry. In China, where the sector is booming, the number of schools that offer a major in logistics and the number of logistics programmes have increased steadily. Wider developments in design, technology and engineering may help broaden horizons for UK students, raising awareness of T&L opportunities.
Diversity is a priority area for improvement and there are several entrenched challenges for the T&L sector. Low wages are compounded by reports that 27% of T&L employees believe they have less opportunities for development than their peers in other sectors (PwC Millenials). This undermines attraction of diverse talent who are often more ambitious, 89% setting life goals according to Race for Opportunity research Aspiration and Frustration (2010). For female talent the sector is especially underrepresented with less than 10% of employees in management positions female (Europhia Consulting, Women in Logistics).
Engaging with Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is necessary as SMEs are an often underutilised and poorly engaged group who are oozing with potential. Cross-sector strategic partnerships may also help enhance working conditions and employer branding of SMEs in the future to appeal to prospective talent.
To further this discussion, boost collaboration and share best practice BITC’s diversity campaigns are hosting a Transport and Logistic Forum in 2014. For more details please email Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org.