Skilled labor shortage in logistics: Why does nobody want to do the job?

dateMontag, Januar 29th, 2018

Fachkräftemangel in der Logostikbranche

Logistics is becoming Germany’s super industry. It is the heart of the producing and consuming society. And yet around 57,000 jobs are currently vacant. How can this be explained?

As the third largest industry in Germany, logistics employs around three million people in this country, generated around 258 billion euros across industries in 2016, ensures continuous growth and has enormous significance for our lives. But despite the success of the transport and logistics industry, the Federal Employment Agency’s statistics reports more than 57,000 vacancies in August. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find qualified employees. How does this make sense?

Versatile, visionary, vital – but also attractive?

A study by the Internet platform www.studitemps.de and the Department of Labor Economics at the University of Maastricht shows that transport and logistics professions are scarcely attractive for young professionals, despite numerous career opportunities. Only 2.6 percent of the 20,000 university graduates surveyed want to work as logisticians after graduation. Cause: The transport industry is fighting with its image. People often do not perceive it positively in public, in the media and in parts of politics. They associate negative issues such as CO2 emissions, congestion, noise, environmental degradation and low wages. That is different in the economy, where the use and value for the country is highly appreciated. After all, logistics offers ample supply: fast and reliable supply of goods, perfect organization of production and delivery processes, pioneering for the growing online trade.

The image of logistics has therefore long ceased to be contemporary and, in the stereotypical presentation, does not mirror the gigantic range of services and the dynamic innovations. Because the industry has developed rapidly. It offers new, attractive occupational fields, for example in the field of digitization. Career opportunities are excellent, jobs are future-proof.

Also positive: The number of young female graduates who are choosing to study logistics is increasing. This positive trend can be seen in the member statistics of the Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL). According to that, nearly 30 percent of the studying members are female – and the number is rising. The industry benefits significantly from the new feminine accents. It becomes more communicative, more open, more versatile. The topic of family friendliness, flexible working hours and work-life balance is increasingly finding its way into logistics service providers.

New ways to go in recruiting

But attractive frame conditions are one thing. Communicating them ist another. For example, how do you reach truck drivers who are currently being searched for desperately basically everywhere? At pfenning logistics we were faced with the task of filling 120 driver jobs. And although we have excellent working conditions, we were initially unable to fill vacancies. Until we changed our strategy.

Instead of placing job advertisements, we took the step into social media and thus into online communication. Via the platform LKW Logenplatz and a new, corresponding Facebook fan page, we have started communicating with the driver community – with huge response. Our approach: We as employers do not talk about us here, but our drivers tell us how they experience the job as a professional driver at pfenning logistics every day. Honest, open, without directives.

Coupled with current job offers and our company profile, the number of applicants has tripled within a few weeks. With over 4,000 fans today, we are in daily dialogue on Facebook alone.

A welcome side effect: The new online communication internally promotes the team spirit and cohesion of the drivers and externally the perception of the company as a fair employer.

Conclusion: Anyone who turns employees into ambassadors of his company gains a high degree of honest interest and sympathy in the market. If more and more companies in our industry take this step and have the courage to show their profile, the image will certainly change. Logistics is an exciting field, perspective-rich and future-proof. The more logisticians transport this message, the faster we will be able to increase the attractiveness of our industry.

Written by Yeliz Kavak-Küstner

is Head of Marketing, PR & New Business at pfenning logistics, one of the leading contract and retail logistics companies in Germany. Since 2012, the graduate in linguistics and cultural studies has implemented numerous measures to realign the logistics provider, including an employer branding campaign for truck drivers and the positioning of a logistics center in accordance with the DGNB platinum standard. The first logistics station in her marketing career was the company GEODIS. For GEODIS Germany, she has set up marketing communication as a separate department.




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