The complaints are all too familiar – the logistics industry can’t get the people it needs, there is a shortage of key skills, and no-one outside the industry understands what logistics is in the first place.
Over the years there have been all sorts of initiatives to combat these problems with varying degrees of success. And the industry seems to keep on going – orders get picked and goods get delivered. The question, of course, is: when will we reach the point where staff shortages have a significant impact on the ability of companies to deliver?
It’s not just a problem in logistics, many industries are facing similar problems and consequently competition for staff is increasing. Perhaps the surprise is that there are currently 1,850,000 unemployed people available for work in the UK.
Now four organisations representing UK logistics industry have agreed to work together to improve the industry’s public image and attract more staff: the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers.
“We are in a battle for talent and facing a skills shortage so we need to up our game to attract young people, ethnic minorities and women to our industry – areas where we are seriously under-represented,” said FTA chief David Wells.
CILT CEO Steve Agg pointed out that the Institute’s motto is “Stronger Together”. “We believe that by working together with the FTA, RHA and IRTE we can promote the many benefits of our industry.”
Apparently, the inspiration for this new joint organisation is the FairFuelUK campaign, a collaborative body that lobbies against rises in fuel duty. The FTA and RHA are both founder members. The plan is that the new organisation will be formalised by the end of September. It faces big challenges just in terms of driver shortages.
But, estimates put the current driver shortage alone at more than 50,000 – that is a big challenge. The industry needs to raise its game if it going to compete successfully against other sectors for the people it needs. Let’s hope this new organisation can deliver.
Malory Davies FCILT,