the Logistics sector is hindered by an image problem: here’s how to fix it

February 18, 2016 Yvette Rogier

Our research suggests that the sector’s unfavorable image could be hampering its ability to attract and retain top talent.

Employers in all industries are feeling the pressure of an increasingly candidate-driven market, especially when it comes to managerial and professional hiring. Take the Logistics sector as an example: Material Handling Industry (MHI) predicts in the U.S. alone the sector will need to fill about 1.4 million jobs by 2018; however, demand for Logistics and Supply Chain professionals exceeds supply by a ratio of 6 to 1. These figures make worrying reading for Logistics HR and business leaders.

The aging workforce isn’t helping the situation either, however, the short supply of talent is largely attributed to the combination of a lack of new entrants into the industry, and employees switching to other industries. So, here’s the question for HR leaders: why isn’t there enough talent motivated to enter and stay in the industry? 

According to the 2015 Randstad Award research of more than 225,000 job seekers worldwide, Logistics is a less than ideal sector to work in, ranking 13th out of 15 global sectors. While Logistics companies form the backbone of modern global business, many job seekers still associate the sector with trucks and warehousing. Moreover, jobs in the Logistics sector are overall perceived to involve merely operational functions and not provide great levels of intellectual challenge. Not only losing on the attractiveness front, the sector also underscored in name awareness: only FedEx, UPS, DP DHL and TNT are on par with the global average while the remaining companies lag far behind.  

Luckily, there is reason to be hopeful. Just take a look at the IT sector: suffering from an image problem similar to its Logistics counterpart in the past, today IT is the world’s most desirable sector for the second consecutive year. And the secret to its success lies in proactively managing the employer brand at both the company and sector level.

Here are three ways to quickly get your employer branding underway:

Generate excitement around the sector as well as Supply Chain jobs. It’s well-known within the industry that Logistics and Supply Chain takes pride in its contribution to the world economy and deployment of cutting-edge technology; however, outside of the business, the message gets drowned out. The sector needs to give people a great sense of its complexity, sophistication and importance, while showing the impact on everyday life. Moreover, don’t forget to highlight the tremendous impact Supply Chain professionals have on businesses in all industries, and the wide range of responsibilities Supply Chain jobs entail. 

Develop a stand-out Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Interest in the sector alone is not enough. At the core of every successful employer brand is a credible EVP. Identify the ideal employee profile for your organization. Then well-tune your EVP to the characteristics, the benefits and the appeal required by your ideal employees.

Create an industry-wide collaboration. The low attractiveness is a shared challenge of the sector, therefore addressing it requires collaboration on an industry-wide scale. Companies, regardless of size, should team up to create a joint brand identity and map out potential campaigns to bring the brand to life. By collectively solving the attractiveness challenge, the sector can achieve great impact in a manner not possible by doing it alone.

As the recruitment landscape grows increasingly competitive, to stand any chance of securing a strong talent pipeline and bridging the skills gap, employer branding is an absolute business-critical issue. When developing your employer brand strategy, keep in mind that increasing brand awareness and attractiveness requires organizational commitment as well as industry joint effort. Last but not least, don’t forget to learn from the experience of the IT sector and where appropriate adopt some of the best practices to drive better results from your branding efforts.

 

About the Author

Yvette Rogier

Senior Vice President - EMEA Having more than 15 years experience in HR & recruitment, her extensive expertise lies in developing effective HR strategies and solutions for companies to drive business results, managing client relationships at senior and executive level, and creating long-term partnerships. Keen to share her perspective and opinions with the HR community, Yvette highly involves herself in industry events on a wide range of topics, including workforce planning, talent management, employer branding and more.

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