Let’s be honest. Logistics doesn’t have the sexiest of images. To the man in the street, the very word ‘logistics’ sounds vague, clinical and many still struggle to grasp exactly what it is we do. Marketers would say our ‘brand image’ needs redefining. It’s perhaps one reason why logistics struggles to attract new talent. Clearly, we have an image problem. Good grads just aren’t considering a career in logistics as a viable option. The positive messages we have to say aren’t getting out there enough. So how will logistics attract its future talent?

Changing the perception

Logistics is an exciting, dynamic industry - a global business with numerous opportunities for career growth. Major household brands like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, BP and Shell rely on logistics to keep their operations running. The industry is a fast-moving, 24/7 operation that’s anything but 9-5. Many would love to work with a large famous company and have a fast developing career. This message now needs to be shouted loud and clear through a variety of channels if logistics is to attract its future talent.

We have a story to tell

If the logistics industry is to become an attractive career option, the industry needs to think long-term; more carefully and creatively about how to attract our future leaders and convince them that they can have a thriving, exciting career in logistics. Companies should consider promoting the human face of their brand through creative marketing campaigns, including having a presence on social media sites. According to a PwC report, candidates rate ‘employer values’ almost as high as ‘more money’ when it comes to choosing an employer. Therefore, your company’s brand values and corporate responsibility ethos needs to be communicated clearly.

Catch them early

It’s important to engage and build relationships with colleges and universities too. There’s a real need to educate and explain exactly what logistics is, how important it is to the economy and vital to business. We should emphasise that we need talented people with analytical and eskills to become our future leaders, and that a global career is possible in an industry that’s by nature multi-national. By instilling the idea of a career in logistics before students leave university, we have more of a chance of catching them when they leave.

Training and development

Training and development is another area that has perhaps been neglected. Where are the grad schemes? The structured management training programmes? Continuous, high quality training is important to grads who look to develop new skills throughout their career.

Promote from within

In our own Michael Page Logistics Salary Survey, 54% of employers thought they didn’t do enough to retain top performers. One way to address that is to create a culture of internal promotion. Highlight the fact when recruiting, that anyone who performs well could be running a team or even a depot in just a few years.
The possibility of fast-track internal promotion is an incentive that always appeals to the ambitious. This is a policy that many companies employ and is well suited to logistics. It’s not only good for the employee but for the company too, as home-grown employees are totally immersed in the company culture and working methods. They go on to become advocates for the industry too and the managers who complete the cycle by recruiting their own future talent.

Be ready to attract, motivate and retain

Our industry clearly needs to address this potential talent shortage, sooner rather than later. With an ageing workforce, the key thing is to start recruiting your future talent now so you’ll be ready to meet tomorrow’s needs. When the economy fully recovers it will be logistics that’s in the front line and the first that needs to react. Finding and investing in future talent now will be an investment that pays off as these people become the leaders of tomorrow.
To discuss how we can help find your future talent, contact Graham Lucas of Michael Page Logistics.
Graham Lucas
Managing Director
T: 0121 230 9384
Michael Page Logistics and Page Personnel Logistics are joint sponsors of the CILT(UK) Awards for Excellence 2013, and supporting:
CILT (UK) Certificate in Logistics and Transport Student Award
CILT (UK) Diploma in Logistics and Transport Student Award