Press release

New research shows skills shortages may create bumps in road for logistics

New research by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) shows logistics firms risk being left behind if they fail to tackle skills shortages.

UKCES research flags skills issues for logistics sector

Rapidly evolving technology in the logistics sector may mean many firms risk being left behind competitors - with more staff and younger workers needed to ensure employers can keep up to speed, new findings show.

The report, published today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), finds that the sector, which contributes over £90bn annually to the UK economy, faces skills shortfalls and recruitment difficulties, with over 1.2m extra jobs required by 2022.

Douglas McCormick, Commissioner at UKCES, said:

“Because logistics underpins the operation of so many other businesses we often do not think about it by itself, but its overall contribution to the economy is huge.

“As over 60% of goods in the UK are moved by road, driver shortages would cause serious knock-on effects to the rest of the economy. It is vital, therefore, that employers ensure they are investing in training and recruiting new talent into the sector to provide a steady stream of skilled workers in the years to come.”

The rapid rise of technology means multi-skilled roles are now the norm, with the introduction of new technology, including GPS systems and electronic signature scanners, and more customer-facing work causing problems in the existing workforce as well as difficulties recruiting new entrants.

The report, Understanding skills and performance challenges in the logistics sector, also found that IT knowledge, customer service and communication are seen as new must-haves for staff.

Michael Davis, chief executive at UKCES, said:

“Taking on young talent can be an effective way of bringing new skills and technical experience to an employer - yet at present only 9% of the workforce in the logistics sector is aged under 25.”

“Without investing more in getting young people into the industry and ensuring they are given the skills they need there is a very real risk that the existing talent pool will dry up - causing serious consequences for the rest of the economy as a whole.”

Read the report, Understanding skills and performance challenges in the logistics sector.

Published 6 October 2014