What’s in store for UK logistics services this year?

As we chart a course through 2024, hopeful for calmer waters, what trends are likely to shape UK logistics, how you hire, and keep a hold of top talent? And how will worker insights inform your people strategy? Our recent survey of 5,000 UK workers uncovered some exclusive insights into what workers want from future employers:

  • 33% don’t feel secure in their current role.
  • 50% are seeking improved work-life balance.
  • At least half are seeking a higher salary, however, 66% would be persuaded to stay by a counteroffer.

While competitive compensation is important, the willingness of over half (66%) of logistics professionals to entertain counteroffers is indeed testament to them seeking assurances of job security and advancement opportunities. This underscores the critical need for employers to provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain employees seeking stability. Offering insights into this evolving landscape, Michael Page’s Matthew O’Donnell, Regional Director - Logistics, provides invaluable perspective on the current and future outlook of logistics operations and delves into critical themes ranging from hiring confidence to the evolving demands on the workforce.

Hiring confidence returns to logistics sector

Logistics was a tough sector to trade in through 2023 as many operators struggled with declining volumes, an over-supply of capacity in the industry, and an increased cost base.

The high uptake of warehouse space through 2021 and 2022 was the primary cause of much of the over capacity as many operators looked to take advantage of the post-Covid ecommerce boom which has since plateaued. As a result, hiring volumes across the sector were down in 2023 compared to 2022 and 2021.

We expect the sector to benefit from more stable volumes, more appropriate capacity levels, and hopefully reduced inflation rates leading to a recovery in hiring levels through 2024. 

Logistics companies will start to resist further inflation plus pay increases

An ONS report recently showed that regular pay is rising faster than inflation. Organisations will have decisions to make in 2024 around the extent to which they continue to offer inflation busting pay rises especially given the pressure on other areas of the cost base. It remains to be seen how sustainable it is for this trend to continue in private sector organisations.

While cost of living will continue to play a role in the job market, many organisations will look to find ways of creating appealing benefits packages to make up for plateauing salaries and make sure they continue to attract the top candidates on the market. Matt emphasised:

"Given the persistence of inflation, a good overall reward package is the most important factor when it comes to top-tier candidates considering a move to a new organisation. Clarity around future career opportunities, combined with a culture that prioritises people engagement and development are also key areas that candidates will look for when exploring new career opportunities."

Benefits that are designed to support modern workplaces around mental health support and work-life balance are those that are most attractive to candidates seeking a new role.  

Demands for increased skills in technology and automation will continue

Logistics is an industry that continues to digitise at rapid pace as customers look to increase the visibility of their products throughout the supply chain and access real time data on inventory levels.

In addition to this, the pace of adoption of automation and robotics in the logistics industry will continue to grow as organisations look to improve efficiencies.

Furthermore, employers will continue to look to technology to support their sustainability agenda which will continue to be an important area of focus, especially for the logistics sector given the amount of energy they use delivering their services.  
Many customers are keen to understand the sustainability plans of their logistics provider, and this will encourage employers to investigate solutions such as electric vehicles and drones for final mile deliveries. 

Logistics leaders of the future will need to have strong technical and IT skills in addition to exceptional people and communication skills.

Access the perfect candidates for the logistics market. Whether you’re looking for permanent, outsourced, or interim solutions, we’ve got your covered.

Connect with the UK’s leading logistics recruiters

Mental health and wellbeing will continue to be a focus for employers

Reports of a mental health crisis in the workplace was prominent throughout 2023. The Business Group on Health’s 2024 survey found that over three quarters (77%) of large employers are reporting an increase in employee mental health needs and the levels of long-term sickness amongst the UK workforce are at record levels.

The rapid change of pace and changing nature of work are often cited as key reasons behind these increases. Logistics, in particular, is a fast-paced, pressure-driven sector, so is particularly exposed to these challenges.

Organisations must consider how to support employees through HR policies such as Occupational Health and benefits packages that support wellbeing and mental health. Leadership and managers from all levels need to take a caring and empathetic approach to reduce mental health issues, foster open and inclusive environments, and promote long-term staff retention.

Get actionable insights to inform your workforce strategy in logistics

Marked by resilience and adaptation, the logistics industry is well placed for recovery in 2024. From today’s insights it's evident that a recalibration is already underway, promising more stable volumes, strategic talent investments, and a sharper focus on employee wellbeing.

As organisations navigate these challenges and opportunities, embracing innovation, fostering a supportive workplace culture, and leveraging evolving technologies will be instrumental in driving success.

Whether you're facing mounting demands for specialised expertise or seeking to align your workforce with your business goals, we're here to help. Connect with Michael Page, your premier recruitment partner, today.

Start a conversation

For deeper actionable insights from salary ranges to recruitment demand in your sector, access Michael Page's 2024 Salary Guides.

Revamp your Employee Value Proposition

Learn how to revamp your employee value proposition to attract top talent.

Download your guide