Transportation & Logistics 2030 Vol.5: Winning the talent race
Around the world, populations are ageing. In many developed economies, increasing numbers of workers are contemplating when to retire. That’s a major problem for some sectors, like road freight, where labour shortages due to retirements are already beginning to take their toll. In developing economies, transportation and logistics as a sector is growing rapidly – but workforce development isn’t yet keeping pace.
How will transportation and logistics companies cope? It’s a question with strategic implications for every aspect of the business. That’s why the first step needs to be making sure that human resource (HR) management is a strategic partner of the C-suite, rather than a supporting function.
The next order of business will be addressing the image problem. The sector’s poor image came up again and again in the responses from our Delphi panellists, regardless of the question asked. Transportation and logistics as a sector isn’t viewed as attractive by most job seekers – when it’s considered at all. Many transport jobs are considered to be low-paying dead-ends. Higher skilled logistics roles with good pay and advancement potential don’t even make the radar screen of many talented graduates.
Invest in training
The problem is compounded by a dearth of training programmes in many areas and an insufficient focus on learning and development within individual companies. There’s no doubt that investments will be needed. Logistics companies in emerging countries need to invest heavily in training, development and education for their young joining workforce. In developed countries, training the next generation and adapting the workplace to the needs of older employees will be key.
Improving recruiting efforts will be important all over the world. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the toughest time – but establishing alliances with their peers and taking advantage of new opportunities provided by virtual recruiting methods can help them catch up.
Attracting more women to the male dominated transportation and logistics sector won’t be easy, but companies that succeed will have access to a rich new labour pool. Gender and cultural diversity can pay off in other ways too, for example by sparking creativity and enhancing innovation. Our Delphi experts believe that diversity management will continue to be a marginal issue in transportation and logistics. And companies that make sure to include women in top roles may find that profits increase too.
Companies across the board will need to get compensation levels right for both men and women – and that includes more than just wages. Benefits and working conditions will be important too. Also, individual objectives of employees should be aligned with the overall corporate strategy. That increases productivity and helps workers feel they have a share in the organisation’s success – an important factor when it comes to keeping talent on-board. Enhancing opportunities for advancement and improving working conditions are vital too.
By making sure current workers are satisfied, companies can improve their employer brand. While staff perceptions aren’t the only factor in building an employer brand, they are an important element. Corporate responsibility helps too, especially in reaching out to younger workers. The strength of the company brand can also go a long way towards helping an individual organisation overcome the sector’s negative image.