Until recently, very few civilians had much idea about what ‘logistics’ meant – something military perhaps? Or something to do with drivers and shelf-stackers? At any rate, not an obvious career recommendation for your sons and daughters.
And yet, logistics in the UK contributes £80 billion to the economy and employs around 2.5 million.
While many of these are truck drivers or warehouse operatives, there are some 85,000 individuals at the manager/director level and nearly 500,000 or 22% of the logistics workforce are classified as ‘high skilled’.
Furthermore, despite or indeed, because of the multiple challenges that the national and global economies are facing, the industry’s need for high-potential managerial and technical staff can only increase.
So here are seven reasons why you, or someone you know, should be considering logistics as a long-term career choice:
1. A continually evolving landscape of fresh challenges.
Organisations increasingly understand that logistics plays a central role in enabling them to meet challenges ranging from Brexit, through the pandemic, to the current war in Ukraine.. But even without these ‘black swan’ events, logistics skills are vital as firms adapt to e-commerce and home delivery trends.
2. At the forefront of technology.
Will drones deliver goods in future? What are the prospects for moving goods in fully autonomous vehicles in the factory or on the open road? Can new approaches to containerisation and materials handling transform economics and efficiency in the supply chain?
It isn’t just hardware – logistics and supply chain are developing many of the most promising use cases for innovations from Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger. The whole sector is ripe for digitalisation, requiring high level skills not just in hardware, software and business management, but people skills as well.
3. It’s a people thing.
Whatever the technical advances, logistics will always depend on human labour, albeit increasingly ‘co-working’ with automation.
As populations age, people consider this labor a scarce resource that requires management.
Equally, with the rise of e-commerce, logistics is increasingly the point of contact between the business and its customer. Logistics and supply chain recruiters value people and ‘soft’ skills at least on a par with technical knowledge.
4. Ease of entry.
With a diverse basket of skills requirements, logistics is not a profession that insists on a 2:1 in a narrowly specified discipline. It is also a profession that allows and encourages progression from the ‘shop floor’ into senior management. There is an increasing range of apprenticeships, courses and professional qualification routes to support this.
5. Transferable skills.
From the outside, industries such as automotive, fashion, groceries, pharmaceuticals look very different. Still, similar skill-sets can be used to resolve their unique challenges – for example, how to manage Just-In-Time supply, and what to do when it looks like breaking down. The responses may differ, but the analysis and insight required is common across the board.
6. Saving the planet.
It’s known that freight transport, along with other environmental impacts such as noise and congestion, is a major generator of greenhouse gases.. But the logistics industry is actively mitigating these challenges: technology, IT and new business models are combining to reduce wasteful empty and part-load running; warehouses are increasingly energy-efficient and resource-light;
The industry is developing new fuels and energy sources.
Logistics professionals are also increasingly sensitive to the social effects of supply chains – how, for example, different business models affect employment and opportunity. The ESG agenda is to a significant extent a logistics agenda.
7. Status and reward.
People’s eyes no longer glaze over at parties when someone says they are a logistics manager. With e-commerce and home delivery, everyone is keenly interested in just how their parcels arrive – and of course the remarkable performances of many supply chains during the pandemic, and its aftermath, have raised the profile of logistics no end.
More fundamentally, there can be few organisations now that fail to recognise that logistics and supply chain, even if outsourced operationally, is a core competence that directly impacts the bottom line, customer satisfaction, regulatory and ESG compliance.
The logistics career ladder knows no limits – boardroom representation is now the norm, evident through in the salaries on offer, at all levels.
We all now recognise that logistics and supply chains are central to everyone’s lives. The careers offered are challenging; but fast-moving, diverse, increasingly well valued and rewarded, and a lot of fun!
As a potential entrant, or as an employer, to learn more about our support for logistics careers, including apprenticeships and other training options, fill in our form and our experts will get in touch with you.
About the Author
Leigh has worked in recruitment for over 30 years and has delivered over 800 successful assignments in the UK, Europe and Asia. Leigh spent many years working in Australia, during which time he managed the Sydney office of Australia’s largest executive recruitment company. Back in the UK, he successfully ran his own supply chain recruitment business for 10 years before joining Bis Henderson Recruitment as Managing Director. Leigh’s specialism is Executive Search, recruiting supply chain and logistics directors, MDs and CEOs due to his many years of experience in the industry, and the connections he has built up along the way. In addition to recruiting the best executive talent, Leigh is a thought leader with regards to the current diversity challenges in the supply chain industry, and also provides expert comment and opinions on how to address the forthcoming labour shortage. When he’s not working, Leigh has a strong passion for drama and is a veteran of many stage performances, even appearing in a Costa Rican TV soap opera. He also has a strong interest in keeping fit, and specifically enjoys cycling and running.
Contact Leigh on email@example.com.