According to a recent survey from the courses comparison website CoursesOnline, more than a third of Logistics Managers believe there is a lack of investment in employee development within the industry.
The survey, which was conducted in early August, asked several thousand managers within the UK’s logistics sector their thoughts concerning skills with the industry, against a backdrop of disruption exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and subsequent restrictions.
The first question sought to identify which skills are currently facing the biggest shortfall. Whilst there was not one skill in particular which far outstripped the others, the skill deemed to be lacking the most (with 18% of the vote) was “Industry specialist skills or knowledge needed to perform the role”.
This was unsurprising given the many stories at present of firms finding it immensely difficult to recruit skilled employees such as HGV drivers.
Another skill deemed lacking with 17% of the vote was the ability for workers to speak and understand a foreign language. Once again, this was unsurprising given the need for drivers to cross international boundaries and for support staff who need to communicate with drivers from all sorts of national backgrounds.
The survey also asked, which factors were most responsible for the current skills shortages? The responses to this question had a much clearer first preference, with 34% of respondents blaming a lack of employer investment in their workforce as the primary reason for skills shortages within the logistics sector. Whilst others attributed some of the blame to external events such as Brexit, Covid and the subsequent “pingdemic”, the largest group of replies implied that the current crisis is the result of this long-term factor.
The survey also aimed to identify what methods would be best for addressing the skills shortage issue and again, there were two answers which proved more popular than the rest. 32% of respondents advised that employers should put more time and resources into training programmes for their employees (tying in with the previous question) and 31% of respondents argued that the providers of reskilling programs should be doing more to appeal to those who may not have the requisite skills for the modern logistical environment.
From the survey, it would appear that the prevalent way of thinking in the logistics sector is that the skills shortage is a long-term issue, rather than one which is solely caused by recent factors. Whilst such events will no doubt have exposed underlying issues, it seems that there is a sense that this was an issue long in the making and needs a proactive response rather than “business as usual”.
“Hopefully, there is a strong response in the near future which encourages a greater emphasis on skills development amongst logistics professionals and employers realise the immense returns they can get by investing in the development of the people within their organisation.”