Transport Labour Market & Skills – Call for Views and Ideas

Transport Labour Market & Skills – Call for Views and Ideas

In a bid to ‘super-charge’ the transport sector’s skills and build a workforce for the future, Talent in Logistics have worked with representative groups to gather views and ideas on the most significant labour market and skills challenges across the sector.

Gathering views from the transport sector

On 22nd March 2022 more than 100 delegates from warehousing, transport and logistics businesses, and training organisations, from across the UK met at the Talent in Logistics Conference. It is an event where Instructors, Trainers and Operations professionals join sector leaders for insight into training changes and real-world challenges faced by the warehousing, transport and logistics sector.

On the day, one of the sessions was devoted to answering questions on the recently launched “Transport and Labour Market & Skills” consultation. It was an interactive and collaborative session designed to get views from all the delegates representing large and small firms up and down the UK.

Talent in Logistics has drafted a formal response for the Government on behalf of the conference delegates.

Talent in Logistics Conference – Delegate Views and Ideas

  1. In your view, what skills does the transport sector need in the future?

While it is a given that drivers need to learn to operate the relevant class of vehicle(s), there may be opportunities to upskill so that they can provide a better, or wider service. Furthermore, it should be noted that drivers need very different skills sets to the Trainers or Operations staff.

People and customer service skills are essential across the transport sector, and it is clear that IT and digital skills would be increasingly important in the future. The ability to adapt to new technologies is therefore important including the ability to operate alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs).

From a recruitment perspective, it is suggested that HR teams in the sector need to improve their marketing skills to attract new talent and help collectively change the perception of the sector. There is also an ageing workforce requiring skills that may assist older drivers and for those that move on to mentor and coach rising stars, they need the skills and knowledge to do this effectively.

Direct suggestions from the sector when posed this question include:

  • Computer / IT skills (for both drivers and trainers)
  • Digital skills
  • Functional skills in information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Marketing careers in schools/colleges
  • Adaptability to ever changing technology
  • Skills to operate more vehicle power types, including Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs)
  • Maintenance / repair skills
  • Overall improvement in skills / continuous improvement
  • Skills to operate new technologies
  • Experience, understanding technology, understanding environment/alternative fuel, marketing/PR skills, communication, structure e.g. training, legislation
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Marketing skills to attract talent
  • People skills / Soft skills / Customer service skills
  • Skills to use planning tools
  • Skills that help an ageing workforce
  • Maths skills
  • Skills to help with flexibility
  • Management of people
  • Advocacy skills
  • Skills for mentoring / becoming a role model / coaching
  • Internal communications skills for Interdepartmental understanding
  1. How, in your view, can current qualification and training routes be made more accessible for those who want to pursue a career in the transport sector?

A key factor in making the training more accessible is cost and affordability for the target market. Availability of more blended learning options nationwide would help alongside more funding (and easier access to it) for vocational training, and funded routes for young people which work without employment (apprenticeships/traineeships for example require an employer), such as through schools and colleges (GCSE/A-Level/T-Level Logistics).

It is important that the sector becomes more attractive as a whole. Open days may help to spread the message, as well as Government backed advertising and promotions in relevant media channels and on social media. Plus, promoting the sector, and challenging negative preconceptions about it, in schools and colleges.

Other suggestions include offering “student loans” for young people to use to learn to be a professional driver, or providing incentives for young people. Retraining and developing the homeless community, ex-prisoners, and other minorities can be achieved through programmes designed specifically for these groups.

Quotes from our sector delegates include:

  • Affordability according to the realistic salaries offered in the job market
  • Encourage blended learning to incorporate a modern approach
  • Funding for vocational training (equivalent to the University route)
  • Routes which don’t require employer backing
  • Open days
  • Training / apprenticeship levy – encourage, promote understanding and actively assist
  • Advertising / Promotions in relevant media / channels / social media
  • Academies
  • Improved Apprenticeships
  • Publicised in schools/colleges that there are sector recognised national training qualifications
  • Improve funding,
  • Review restrictions e.g. insurance, licences
  • More Government funding
  • Loans to drivers
  • Incentives at a young age
  • Retraining and development of homeless
  • Prison services
  • Make the sector more attractive for people who are not attracted to it
  • Cut the “red tape”
  • Raise the profile of the sector in general
  • Level up logistics careers
  • Bring education closer to sector
  • Make more driving tests available
  1. What, in your view, are effective ways to attract young people and career changers into a career in the transport sector?

It is important for young people and career changers to clearly see the career routes and progression, so they can see that there are good prospects and rewards.

Competitive pay, rewards, and work-life balance are important, alongside visibility of good working conditions. Seeing a day in the life of a driver or person in the transport sector may make it look much more appealing. Good facilities onsite and on the road would also help improve the perception of the working day.

Changing the perception that “being a lorry driver is a last resort” is crucial alongside promoting equal opportunities. Work experience opportunities help, but creating a better focus in the school curriculum and optimising apprenticeships will help further.

Roadshows, open days, and career fairs may also have an important part to play. In addition, logistics and supply chain coverage in the national curriculum would aid understanding and appreciation of the crucial role of the sector.

Ideas from the sector include:

  • Visibility of career routes / progression
  • Work experience
  • Schools curriculum optimise apprenticeships – educational improvements
  • Entry level barriers
  • Day in the life of (DILO) work experience weeks
  • Insurance has barriers
  • Change perception – Image change away from “I ended up as a lorry driver”
  • Great working conditions
  • Good facilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Competitive pay
  • Good prospects
  • Rewards
  • Open days designed to attract young people
  • Warehouse to wheels – hunt for talent in the warehouse
  • Better truck stops
  • Roadshows / career fairs
  • Review expectation of Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)
  • Equal opportunities
  • Attract Ex-emergency services and MOD
  • Engage with leavers who are already skilled
  • Introduce into schools
  • Reduce working hours
  • Promote and focus on work life balance
  • Aim at students, advertise for customers in stores
  • Apprenticeships
  • Awareness
  • Make it exciting and attractive to be part of the sector
  • Create an easier path
  • Bring education closer to sector
  • Promote diversity
  • More clear career progression and development path
  1. What, in your view, are the barriers to further increasing diversity, inclusion and social mobility in the transport sector?

Stereotyping, unconscious bias, and the culture in some companies is a key factor preventing diversity. With this in mind, it could be difficult to introduce new and young LGV/HGV drivers, minorities, and groups such as ex-prisoners or the homeless into careers in transport and logistics. For employers, now is a time to re-think recruitment strategies and longer term initiatives.

Poor facilities in businesses and on the roadside may also prevent some groups joining the sector. Especially when considered alongside perceived low pay, tough working hours, and poor work-life balance. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the sector which may also give the perception that there is no career progression.

There also seems to be a lack of proactive management across the sector from those with diverse backgrounds. Also, generally a lack of role models who would help encourage more diversity. For the younger generation, there are very few social media influencers in transport sector, so it rarely registers as a career opportunity for them.

Some suggested barriers within the sector include:

  • Sexual discrimination
  • Transport/logistics is not introduced / promoted at secondary school level
  • Stereotyping in companies
  • Difficult to employ new / young LGV drivers (insurance issues)
  • Lack of finance to assist with licence acquisition
  • Poor facilities
  • Costs of entry
  • Demographic issues (male/female balance, the ageing workforce)
  • Low pay
  • Lack of knowledge / understanding of the sector
  • Perception of (lack of) career progression
  • Lack of upskilling opportunties– not available or not selected for
  • Unconscious bias
  • Lack of proactive management with diverse backgrounds
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Very few/no social media influencers in transport sector
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Lack of flexible working
  • Poor safety
  • Company cultures needs to change
  • Few role models
  • Lack of accessibility
  • Geographic issues
  • Public transport network
  • Historical preconception
  • Expectation of women raising children
  1. How, in your view, can barriers to diversity, inclusion and social mobility in the transport sector be reduced?

More training across the sector will help to mitigate against unconscious bias in the workplace. Without making the transport sector a comfortable place to work for everyone, staff retention will be low and it will be hard to recruit.

At the same time, raising specific awareness among diverse/minority groups will help drive interest in a career in the transport sector.

Targeting each group with messages that mean something to them will help make career opportunities more attractive and welcoming. Open conversations and engagement with each group will further improve the effectiveness of any communications alongside case studies to show “people like me” making a success.

More engagement with schools and youth groups will help break some of the barriers and building respect for people working in the sector generally will help change perception and attitudes.

Better health and hygiene in companies and at truck stops may also assist in reducing anxiety for staff. While incentives, good pay and rewards will make the job attractive, it may only mask some of the underlying issues described above.

Ideas from the sector about reducing barriers to diversity include:

  • Better health and hygiene in companies and truck stops
  • Opportunities at graduate level/many years of experience – introductions should be offered for all levels
  • More engagement with schools/youth groups
  • Investing in people
  • Build respect for what we do!
  • Consultation / engage with government
  • Get schools / education bodies involved
  • Training within sector to mitigate against unconscious bias
  • Proactive engagement with diverse backgrounds
  • Challenge public opinion, raise profile of sector to opinions
  • Reduce red tape
  • Open conversations
  • Feedback from operators/warehouse operatives
  • Case studies – to show “people like me” making a success
  • Incentives

About Talent in Logistics

Since 2017, not-for-profit organisation Talent in Logistics has been building a community of industry experts, sector leaders, employers of all sizes and training providers who share a common interest in helping the multi-modal logistics sector overcome people and skills challenges.

Talent in Logistics hosts a range of events (physical and virtual) to connect the multi-modal logistics community. Through conferences, webinars, and its annual Awards event,  Talent in Logistics provides a forum for learning and sharing actionable insights.

With its unique and total focus on people in multimodal logistics, Talent in Logistics is dedicated to providing high quality, accessible resources for the industry. This includes podcasts, research, white papers, publications and podcasts, alongside a free Jobs Board and ‘Learning Through Logistics’ resources to help encourage future generations of talent.

Management must change to secure next generation of lift truck operators, Talent in Logistics research shows

Management must change to secure next generation of lift truck operators, Talent in Logistics research shows

A recent survey by Talent in Logistics, sponsored by UKMHA (UK Material Handling Association), found that more than half (51%) of male lift truck operators aged 30 and over do not find their management to be trustworthy and honest.  52% would also not recommend their job to family and friends.

These insights, and others, are revealed in a new report titled “What lift truck operators really think of their job”.  The research report also reveals that 47% of the 30-plus male demographic surveyed don’t agree that they are recognised for the job they do and just 42% feel that their opinion matters when a company is looking to change things.

“We are in the midst of a national warehousing skills shortage, so employers must take action now to retain skilled lift truck operators,” says Ruth Edwards, Operations Director for Talent in Logistics. “It is clear that some changes are needed at management level to improve communications, build trust, and make operators feel valued.”

“Lift truck operators are an ageing, and predominantly male, workforce – 48% of those taking our survey were aged 51 or over. So, as well as fixing these inherent issues, recruiting new talent is key,” she continues.

Female operators (60%) and employees aged 18-21 (100%) said they’d rather have a good manager than a 5% pay-rise, highlighting the importance of management on employee satisfaction and engagement.

“Positively, our research showed that these younger workers and female operators are incredibly loyal – 88% of the female operators and 100% of the 18–21-year-olds said they could see themselves working for the same company in two years.” says Ruth. “Their responses in the survey provide a good insight into what employers need to do in order to attract more people from these groups into the workforce.”

Young people are particularly interested in career development, with 94% of respondents aged 18-30 saying they want to progress in their career.

Work/life balance is also a high priority for young people, with 100% of the 18–21-year-olds saying they would prefer a better work/life balance than a 5% pay rise, and 65% of 18-30 year olds saying the same.

Some of the factors contributing to job satisfaction for younger employees include flexible working options, feeling heard and respected, and having the training they need to do their job effectively.  Wellbeing is another important area and, encouragingly, 86% of female operators said they feel the company cares about their mental wellbeing. The same percentage (86%) of female operators also said they find their company leaders easy to talk to.

The report also includes suggestions from lift truck operators as to how to attract workers into the profession, including the question of pay. The survey found that more than 50% of all lift truck operators surveyed agreed that they are not well paid for the job they do. All groups put equal or more importance on a 5% pay rise than on a comprehensive healthcare package.

Tim Waples, Chief Executive of UKMHA, who sponsored the survey and report added: “This report highlights some real issues within our industry that must be addressed. Lift truck operators play a vital role in the supply chain and logistics and, to ensure the welfare and retention of staff, employers must do more to ensure the safety of operators (and bystanders), whilst looking at what reward and recognition they have in place to ensure these experienced people feel valued in the vital role that they fulfil.”

Ruth from Talent in Logistics adds: “Much of the news about skills and labour shortages has been focused on LGV drivers but it should not be forgotten that a shortage also exists in lift truck operator and warehouse roles. I urge employers to read the report to gain valuable insights on how to better retain operators, and create a talent pipeline for the future.”

To download the report ‘What do lift truck operators really think of their job?’, click here.

For more information, call the team on 01952 520216 or email info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.

Why Attend Industry CPD Events?

Talent in Logistics Develop Conference 2020

Instructors and trainers working in the logistics industry have a lot on their plates. Keeping up with the pace of change takes work. New developments are happening all the time; not only changes to legislation such as those brought about by Brexit, but also advances in eLearning, plus a new emphasis on remote learning due to Covid and climate change, the list goes on. Instructors and trainers need affordable CPD (Continuous Professional Development) that will improve their skills and reduce knowledge gaps.

It might feel like losing a member of your training team for a whole day is too costly, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your team need development to be efficient and to keep your business compliant and competitive. Here are three reasons your instructors and trainers should attend the Talent in Logistics’ ‘Develop’ Conference on 22nd March 2022.

Retain your team

Good instructors and trainers are hard to find. Your instructors and trainers want to feel that they have a future with your company; nothing says that more clearly than investing in their skills.

Another important reason for developing your team is the effect it has on morale. Regularly attending CPD events will help that your team feel valued.

Studies have shown that engaged employees are not only more likely to stay, they’re also healthier, happier and more efficient.

Keep your business compliant

All skills fade, and instructors know this better than anyone. After all, keeping skills fresh across the industry is their bread and butter!  Professional CPD events are an opportunity for instructors and trainers to keep up to date with best practice.

Industry legislation is fast changing due to Brexit, net zero targets, the skills shortage and more. To keep compliant, you need your instructors to have all the very latest information.

Networking Is a Great Way to Grow your Business

Instructors and trainers attending Talent in Logistics’ ‘Develop’ Conference will be engaging with industry experts and peers from across the country. That’s a lot of potential business under one roof!

Attend the ‘Develop’ Conference on 22nd March 2022

Don’t let your instructors and trainers get left behind. Click here to book your tickets now for just £75+VAT, or for more information, contact the team on info@talentinlogistics.co.uk or visit www.talentinlogistics.co.uk/contact/.

What LGV and HGV Drivers Really Think About Benefits

Talent in Logistics has followed up its 2020 ‘Driving Engagement in Logistics’ whitepaper with fresh research conducted in partnership with the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium and iintegra-T. The latest report addresses the driver shortage and retention crisis by asking LGV/HGV drivers what they think about the benefits and incentives employers use to attract and retain drivers. The results will surprise you.

Faulty Logic

It is no secret that the UK is facing a wellbeing crisis. The cost of ill-health and stress are mounting all the time. But solutions to this problem don’t always hit the mark.

A 2018 study found pressure to ‘attend work at all costs’ was driving presenteeism, with employees coming to work while unwell instead of recuperating. Rather than improving productivity, the negative effects of cutting back on sick leave actually cost the economy billions.

Sick employees are less focused and productive. They are more susceptible to mental and physical strain, so they stay sick longer and are more likely to get worse.

For logistics firms, this means more mistakes, inefficiency, cost, even expensive damage to fleets. For LGV and HGV drivers, protracted ill-health can lead to stress, burnout, or more serious medical conditions which threaten their living.

At worst, loss of focus on the road can even mean loss of life.

What Does This Have to Do with Benefits?

More than you might think. Wellbeing and engagement are two sides of the same coin, with research linking both to retention and performance.

Common wellness programs often apply a sticking plaster where a splint is needed. Only 15.5% of respondents to Talent in Logistics’ survey said a wellness program would attract them to a role. 27.9% said a gym membership would not attract them at all, while only 10% said it would. LGV and HGV drivers have given such solutions a vote of no confidence.

What Drivers Do Want

The physical, mental, and financial stress of the recent global pandemic has exacerbated the issues identified in 2018. In Talent in Logistics’ research report, the top three most attractive benefits were income protection insurance (88.4%), critical illness cover (83.2%), and extra holiday for years of service (72.6%).

A connection can be made here to overtime, which came up a lot in our conversations with drivers. ‘It seems that all driver roles expect you to work 50 hours a week, as opposed to 37.5 like the rest of the country,’ was one of many such observations.

Industrywide, many LGV and HGV drivers feel under pressure to routinely push themselves beyond their contracted hours. More faulty logic. And it may be affecting their health.

We have seen many logistics employers recently offer a variety of incentives to their workforce of LGV and HGV drivers, for example:

  • AO offer a dedicated wellness initiate that supports wellbeing, including a 24 hour employee assistance programme.
  • Aldi offers a wellbeing programme where they have access to an online wellness portal, as well as an employee assistant programme and wellbeing related benefits.
  • Gist offers to cover the costs of training to new drivers, as well as ‘discounts and a generous pension’.
  • XPO offers merit increases, performance rewards and an accelerated path to reach top pay rates.
  • Eddie Stobart offers additional leave after years of service and death in service scheme.

When overtime goes unrecognised and underpaid, it certainly impacts their engagement. Despite being identified as keyworkers during the pandemic, many drivers still don’t feel respected in their roles.

Incentive packages that ignore what drivers want don’t help. Once again, a common solution to the respect issue was highly unpopular with our drivers. Public recognition by management was one of the lowest scoring incentives in the survey.

What the drivers really wanted was more empathy. Many respondents to Talent in Logistics’ study felt strongly that managers and traffic planners did not understand the challenges drivers face on the job.

Taking the time to ride out with the drivers might be one way to tackle this issue. Experiencing the realities of life on the road can offer real insight into driver performance. This helps leaders to set realistic expectations. Shared first-hand experience can also help build trust and improve communication.

Solutions

The benefits that affect wellbeing and engagement the most are the ones which reduce the big stressors in drivers’ lives. Drivers want fair pay for hard work; financial and health security; and time enough to rest, recuperate when sick, and simply live their lives.

Fortunately, iintegra-T offers a range of insurance solutions which can target the problem effectively.

Income protection insurance shows drivers you’ve got their backs. Life insurance protects their loved ones. And private medical insurance helps safeguard their health. It all adds up to a benefits package that will make drivers feel valued.

More than anything, drivers need to feel their concerns are being listened to. To find out more, contact the iintegra-T team at https://iintegra-t.com/contact/.

DOWNLOAD ‘THE DRIVERS FOR DRIVERS’ WHITEPAPER.