The first quarter of the year is always the busiest time for recruitment. And every year my candidates and clients alike always want to know what transport, logistics and warehousing recruitment trends look set to continue or take off in 2019.

Whether you’re a candidate looking for a new role in 2019 or an employer finalising your recruitment strategy, I’ll be sharing the industry trends shaping recruitment and what that means for those looking to hire or be hired.

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The three main industry trends affecting recruitment

1. Major technological advances

68% of transport & logistics CEOs surveyed expect that changes in core technologies of production or service provision will be disruptive to their business*

*PwC CEO Survey 2018

Technology is advancing rapidly in this sector response to a change in customer demands, cost pressures, and environmental & safety regulations.

From advanced telematics systems to IoT sensors, real-time visibility for the consumer and businesses is here. Inventory, goods, people and equipment can all be tracked and automatic scheduling of routes, orders and even vehicle maintenance is now possible. Meanwhile, new technology such as drones and electric cars is being tested by the supply chain giants.

With such fast technological growth, not enough candidates have the skill sets sought by employers. Yet many businesses do not have the skills in-house – or the ability to upskill employees quickly enough.

2. The long-standing skills gap

The current demand for supply chain professionals is estimated to exceed supply by a ratio of six to one.

DHL report “The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: From Gap to Crisis”

The skills shortage in logistics, transport and warehousing is nothing new and not something recently brought about by technological advances. There is an ageing workforce, particularly at the management and senior level, with an insufficient talent pipeline to replace them, mainly due to the ‘male and stale’ image and lack of awareness of the career paths available.

We do not see the skills gaps changing in 2019, but it will be interesting to see whether the rapid rate of technological change will eventually close it by making these career paths more appealing to the younger generation.

3. The uncertainty of Brexit

The transport, logistics and warehousing sector is most likely to be affected by Brexit. From the warnings of a pile-up of lorries for 30 miles into Kent to the increase in driver shortages and the complex transport planning that will be required to deal with pan-European supply chains – this sector is an enabler that underpins the economy and makes international trade and local delivery of goods possible.

The FTA has sought clarity from the government on a number of issues to ‘Keep Britain Trading’ and has criticised the government’s failure to deliver workable solutions as promised.

The impact of transport, logistics and warehousing trends on recruitment in 2019

An increased focus on attracting and retaining the best staff

The increasing skills shortage means that businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to attract and retain the best staff in order to succeed.

To improve employee retention rates, there is a shift at the senior/management level from hiring those with old-school management styles to hiring those that can demonstrate soft-skills of effective man-management and engagement. Such candidates are therefore highly in demand.

Some employers are starting to offer more flexible working opportunities and seasonal contracts to help attract retirees back into the industry as “Boomerang Workers” so that they can retain their skills on at least a casual basis.

Beware of buy-back offers

Companies are now increasingly making buy-back offers in response to decent employees handing in their resignation. Employers looking to recruit new staff therefore need to be aware of this potential pitfall and have an effective strategy for dealing with buy-back offers.

In-house recruitment rates increase

We are seeing many businesses trying to recruit internally, where possible, to reduce costs. In some instances, this can work. However, the current skills shortage means that, in many instances, this tactic can backfire. Whilst employers may find some success recruiting internally for lower-level roles, at the senior level job boards are much less effective and finding a mix of active and passive candidates is required. Whilst such candidates can be found on LinkedIn, many businesses have not effectively engaged with and nurtured potential candidates prior to a job role becoming available.

Quick learners and adaptable candidates are in demand

Businesses still continue to prefer product-specific skills and/or software-specific experience. However, with technology advancing at such as rapid rate, a candidate’s potential and ability to quickly learn is becoming increasingly important.


Find out more about buying and merchandising recruitment trends and what skills, benefits and perks are most in demand right now – as well as discovering average salaries – with our Procurement & Supply Chain Salary Guide & Recruitment Trends 2019, covering Buying & Merchandising, Procurement & Supply Chain and Logistics, Warehousing & Transport.

Download your Salary & Benefits Guide 2019