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5th Dec, 2023

Sue Christopher
Sue Christopher
Job Title
National Business Development Manager

The rise of e-commerce has had a profound impact on the labour market in the warehousing and industrial sector. The popularity of online shopping has led to a significant increase in the number of warehouses and logistics facilities, with the UK experiencing nearly a twofold increase over the past decade.

Many warehouses are located in the same areas, leading to companies competing for talent within the same networks. This problem is made worse by the often-undesirable shift patterns required by logistics companies, which now operate around the clock to meet consumer demands and delivery schedules. The task of attracting and retaining suitable candidates has never been more challenging.

How to plug the gaps during peak times

This recruitment crisis can become a huge challenge at peak times, such as at Christmas or during other large public holidays.

At Reed, we have developed a number of strategies to stay ahead in the labour market. Key to our approach is the recognition that more needs to be done to ensure opportunities are appealing to candidates, especially given the notoriously low employee value proposition (EVP) that the logistics and warehousing sectors are known for.

So, what do we recommend?

Target passive interest

The notion of a ‘typical’ logistics and warehouse worker is outdated. In reality, individuals from various backgrounds and lifestyles can thrive in these roles, especially given the flexibility of shift patterns that break away from the traditional 9-5 schedule. This flexibility can attract a diverse range of candidates seeking a better work-life balance.

For instance, businesses can target students who may be looking for part-time work or flexible hours that can accommodate their academic schedules. Similarly, retirees or older adults might appreciate the opportunity to stay active and engaged without the commitment of a full-time job.

Businesses can reach out to individuals from different sectors who might not have previously considered ‘blue-collar’ jobs. Highlighting the benefits and opportunities in the logistics and warehouse sector can pique the interest of these passive candidates.

Another strategy is to target underrepresented groups in the industry. For example, promoting a welcoming and inclusive work environment can attract more female workers to a sector traditionally dominated by men.

By broadening the scope of your recruitment strategies and highlighting the unique benefits of your roles, you can attract a diverse talent pool beyond the ‘typical’ worker. This not only enhances the workforce diversity but also contributes to a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

Hire faster

In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s essential for companies to adapt and respond quickly to changing circumstances. This includes being able to manage workforce requirements, even when faced with unexpected challenges. This is where the concept of flexibility comes into play, allowing businesses to accommodate varying labour demands efficiently.

Candidates, too, prefer a streamlined process when registering for work. They appreciate the ability to explore the market at their own pace and make decisions that best suit their needs. To meet these expectations, businesses can leverage advanced recruitment technology. This helps manage order demand and speeds up the onboarding process for candidates.

Present a strong employer brand

Businesses need to establish a strong EVP to enhance their brand. Creating a safe, healthy, and supportive work environment is crucial, especially in sectors like logistics and warehousing. Tailoring induction materials and processes to each employee can smooth their transition into the workplace.

Competitive remuneration, flexible work schedules, and recognition for outstanding performance through incentives are key factors that businesses should consider. These elements not only attract potential employees but also contribute to employee satisfaction and retention.

Understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by employees is another important aspect. Managing personal finances in these challenging times is causing anxiety for many people, so any cost-saving measures employers can offer can be a big help with attraction and retention. For example, businesses located in remote areas or places with unreliable public transport might consider providing transportation solutions to improve accessibility to work for their employees. At Reed, we have tailored our own transport solution which provides coaches for our employees across Northamptonshire, delivering our flexible workforce from their hometowns to work and back. This is ordinarily done at a lower cost than equivalent public transport and is therefore a financial benefit as well as an excellent way to encourage more people to join the business.

As we move forward, these strategies will not only help plug the labour gap during peak seasons like Christmas but also ensure sustainable, long-term growth. The challenge of attracting and retaining suitable candidates may be daunting, but with the right strategies in place, it’s a challenge that can be overcome.

If you looking for temporary or permanent recruitment solutions, whether that’s ad hoc staffing or a full managed service, get in touch with our specialist warehouse and logistics team today to find out how we can help your business.