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Attracting talent

24 March 2022

DELEGATES AT this year’s UKWA National Conference, held on March 8, heard from a series of high profile speakers offering advice, insights and inspiration on the theme of Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today.

A KEY theme on the first day was how to attract more talent into the industry. Bethany Windsor of Think Logistics and Novus underlined the importance of education as a route into the sector and introduced young graduates Tienne Oates, Eismantas Sungaila and Sunnah Habib, all of whom spoke with confidence and passion about their respective roles and experiences in warehousing and logistics. All confirmed that what they looked for in an employer were training and personal development, but vitally also ethical values on the environment and a culture that ‘matches who I am and what I want to be as a person.’

Bethany asked delegates to get behind promoting opportunities in the industry in schools and colleges. “Young people can’t be what they can’t see!” she said.

Co-founders of the charity Tempus Novo, Steve Freer and Val Wawrosz, explained how they are ‘changing the world, one life at a time’, rehabilitating ex-offenders by finding them work, whilst also opening up for employers a new pool of talented people who, given a second chance, were determined to demonstrate that they could be reliable, hard-working and loyal. Both spoke of their work with UKWA member Clipper Logistics and introduced Chris, a former Tempus Novo client, now a Team Leader at Clipper.

“We’ve been blown away by warehousing as an opportunity for employment for our clients,” Steve said. “It’s exciting, busy and offers our clients entry level access to jobs as well as a route for personal progression. We’re now working with many logistics companies – we focus on making it easy for employers. Safeguarding is a high priority and job retention rates are 74%.” 

The clear message from both Ruth Edwards, Operations Director at Talent in Logistics and James Terry, Vice President of Sales at Indeed Flex, was that employers in the warehousing and logistics sector are in a highly competitive marketplace and can no longer view workers simply as commodities. Instead, they argued, what staff want from their employment should shape future recruitment and retention strategies. 

“We’ve been blown away by warehousing as an opportunity for employment for our clients. It’s exciting, busy and offers our clients entry level access to jobs as well as a route for personal progression. Safeguarding is a high priority and job retention rates are 74%.” 

According to James, there has been an 143% increase in warehouse job postings on the platform since before the pandemic, with 81% of companies struggling to attract staff. 

While Indeed Flex have seen a 28% rise in salaries, the picture is complex, he said. 

Mims Davies, Minister for Employment, also addressed the event: “If you are young person worrying about your future this is a great industry, with a wide variety of roles available.”

Davies expands don the effectiveness of HGV boot camps in tackling a specific skills painpoint.

“The HGV boot camps have been really important as the shortage has become more acute. We have had a fantastic take up, and we are also working directly with firms such as Eddie Stobart.

“Companies such as B&M are employing driver’s mates, getting young people in cabs and learning the job. We’ve also been fixing the backlog in terms of testing and making it easier for people to come into the sector.”

Commenting on the event, UKWA CEO Clare Bottle said: “We were fortunate to have some fantastic, incredibly knowledgeable speakers and panelists, which made for a lively and engaging event. I think we all learned a lot and felt inspired to be more curious, bold in our vision and armed with practical solutions to address the key issues we face for the future.”

For more information, visit www.ukwa.org.uk

 
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