With the busy Christmas period approaching, logistics businesses across the UK are balancing their workforces to cope with increased demand – as always, this has made hiring interim managerial talent a huge priority.

Logistics businesses across the UK are balancing their workforces to cope with increased demand, making interim hiring a top concern for employers in the sector. Here we go over what this means for candidates and companies.

However, with a shortage of quality interim managers across logistics-focused sectors like retail, facilities management, food production and e-fulfilment, many businesses in these fields are struggling to source top talent to work seamlessly on a short-term basis.

Ben Lyons, Senior Operating Director at Michael Page Logistics, said that challenges like distribution from the rise in online shopping orders in the UK, supply chain disruption, and a reduced employee pool following Brexit, have contributed to these skills shortages.

The Office For Budget Responsibility, an independent UK watchdog, recently described a “bottleneck” of talent in the country, partly due to new post-Brexit immigration rules. However, Lyons suggests that by working with experienced and well-connected recruitment partners, businesses can still navigate their way through this bottleneck and reap the many benefits of strong interim talent.

Working from reputation

For many  logistics companies in the UK, hiring interim talent - mainly at junior and middle level but often at senior level too - is an important step to take to deal with the busy Q4 period. For example, interim managers can help manage the influx of seasonal workers in distribution centres and warehouses. Or five or six interim managers might be hired to work at a large food retailer’s distribution centre for a busy Q4 period. 

Lyons commented that interim talent can also be beneficial at other times of the year too, and for reasons beyond spikes in company workload.

“If a company has a project coming up and subsequently encounter particular operational challenges, they might need to hire an interim manager with particular expertise to help see them through,” Lyons said.

Lyons also mentioned that with interim managers seldom working at one company or location for more than a few months, those who have made a career of it tend to be high quality, as they are constantly having to impress new clients.

Speaking of his talent pool of interim managers, Lyons added: “They like the variety. They’ve built up a depth of experience throughout their career that they can bring to bear across a range of short-term challenges.”

He added: “Another reason hiring interim talent is effective is that these individuals work short-term, so they're not worried about treading on toes. They're happy to go in and make big changes. And when it comes to dedication, a lot of them get work based on reputation references. They know they've got to fulfil their brief to a very high standard.”

Snapping up talent

Hiring the best interim talent directly can be a hard ask for many UK logistics companies, considering the limited candidate pool and competition from other companies working in the heavily burdened sector.

Lyons said that the most effective recruiters in this context will be those with many years of experience managing logistics talent pools. They will have thus gained the experience to help companies bypass the heavy lifting of recruitment, even in this challenging time. By recruiting in this way, companies see payroll and tax issues dealt with externally, they don’t have to deal with long notice periods, and can often get access to managers who are ready to start immediately.

“For a lot of organisations it’s a very flexible labour source,” Lyons said. “We've got an established network and an established pool of people, so we are able to find the people our clients often couldn’t find alone.”

If you are looking for interim talent or other recruitment solutions, reach out here to arrange an introductory conversation with one of our expert consultants.