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Logistics employer survey reveals skills gap remains

There remains a skills gap in the UK Logistics Sector, according to the most recent Logistics Employer Skills Survey, published by Skills for Logistics.

Employers in this survey confirmed that they suffer from skills gaps across all occupational levels. At least 21 per cent of companies employing operational staff have personnel who are not fully proficient, but this increases to 31 per cent for middle and junior management positions. Management levels are the least likely to have training arranged or provided for them.

Communication, organising and planning and job specific skills were among the skills that employers identified as requiring improvement to ensure staff can do their job more efficiently. Management and leadership skills were recognised by more than half of employers as needing improvement.

The survey also found that a lack of funding or resources to undertake training augments skills gaps within companies, as does the lack of time to train and the inability to find appropriate training solutions.

Other findings from the study include the fact that staff recruitment, retention and development were considered to be a top challenge, alongside maintaining business operations. Three quarters of all companies had recruited at least one person in the past 12 months, either to fill new posts through expansion or to fill gaps created by staff turnover. Most companies (87 per cent) recruited operational level workers, while 42 per cent recruited middle and junior management and 22 per cent recruited director or senior management positions.

Most recruitment difficulties were seen at operational staff level, which includes drivers – the shortage of skilled drivers has been widely reported – as well as warehouse operatives. The main reason for these difficulties appears to be the low number of applicants with the required skills. When employers recruit individuals without the full skills set for the job role, the inevitable knock on effect is a skills gap within the workforce.

The study finds positive notes in terms of sector performance, with more than half of employers reporting improvements in profitability, productivity and turnover, in comparison to the previous 12 months.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Dr Ross Moloney, CEO of Skills for Logistics said: "The majority of employers are providing some form of training, mainly to comply with legislative requirements. However, the fact that they are not only recognising skills gaps but also their contributing factors, suggests that employers would like to undertake more. Employers will need to overcome these challenges if they wish to operate effectively and efficiently and remain competitive in the future. And they are challenges that can be overcome.

Dr Moloney continued: "In addition to providing the kind of sector intelligence found in this report, Skills for Logistics is here to help in ‘Attracting, Developing and Supporting’ employers, employees and those with an interest in the sector – beit through our range of schemes or our knowledge of how to source funding. We encourage you to get in touch and engaging with us as a positive step towards filling the skills gap."

To download the full report please visit: www.skillsforlogistics.org

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