Career in Logistics

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Employees identify career opportunities as key reason behind career choice. In the war for talent, companies within the logistics industry can invest more in a strong HR strategy to improve the “employerbility” as “employer of choice”.

Human capital is a company’s most important resource. In general, talented people with a strong logistics or supply chain management background are hard to find. Labour markets in countries like the Netherlands and Belgium have become increasingly tight as a result of strong economic activity. Thus, it is difficult to find, attract, and keep suitable employees.

The strong economic development, which is resulting in a shortage of quality employees, also applies to the logistics and supply chain labour market. Against Europhia Consulting’s 2007 International Recruitment and Training Survey, recently illustrated this development. The survey confirms that the labour market is tight and in some countries such as the Netherlands starting to “overheat”. This will result in an increase in competition between companies for talent from within and outside the logistics sector. Therefore, companies should be aware of this situation, accept this as the “operating environment” of the years to come and find suitable strategies to manage this. cekongkirindah cargo 2019

Due to the challenging situation of a talent shortage in the logistics and supply chain management industry, Europhia Consulting conducted an International Salary Survey which not only compares salaries but also aims at understanding which are the decisive factors for an industry professional’s career choice.

Career Motivation

Besides offering market competitive salary packages, there are other factors such as offering employees clear career opportunities, which are important for an employer to consider as part of its HR strategy. In fact, “Career Opportunities” was found to be the most important reason for making a career choice across all regions (Europe, Asia, and North America), while salary was only rated number two.

There are clear regional differences when it comes to the key reasons for making a career choice. European employees view “Corporate Culture” as the third most important factor in making a career move. Asian employees look for “Management Recognition”. American employees are concerned with the “Reputation of the Company” in their choice of working for a certain company.

In a number of European countries “Career Opportunities” and “Basic Salary” are key aspects when making a career choice. In the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland “Career Opportunities” ranks number one among the reasons for making a career choice while ranking number two in the UK and number three in Belgium. In contrast to these two factors, the third key factor differs between the countries. Whereas it is “Corporate Culture” in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, it is “Company Reputation” in Germany and in Switzerland.

It can thus be concluded that offering a high salary is no longer enough to attract and retain talent. Factors such as offering clear career opportunities or having an attractive corporate culture, etc. should be focused on much more in the future in order for a company to become “an employer of choice”.

Salary comparisons

People working in a supply chain position for a manufacturer generally earn more than those working for a logistics service provider. In Europe there is a difference of 6%, in Asia the difference is the largest with 16%, and in North America it is the smallest with 3%. This was demonstrated by Europhia’s 2007 Salary Survey, which received participation from more than 1400 Logistics, Supply Chain, and HR professionals from over 35 countries.

There seem to be no major differences in salary levels of employees in similar positions between European countries. Looking at regional differences, salary levels in Europe and North America appear to be almost double than those of employees in similar capacities earning a local salary package in Asia. However, the salary differences appear to be largest in lower paying positions. In comparing Director level salary packages the regional differences are much smaller.

Importance of Benefits in European countries

The importance of certain benefits differs between European countries. In general, pension plans rank in the top three for all of the European countries and are even the most important benefit for four out of five of the European target countries. Only in Germany the company car seems to be important to more participants than a pension plan. While the company car ranks number one in Germany, it does not seem to be of equal importance in the other European countries.

It is interesting to note that healthcare benefits are highly valued by employees in the Netherlands, UK, and Switzerland, whereas employees in Germany and in Belgium do not rank them as very important. This may be due to the structures of the healthcare systems in the respective countries.

Training and Development

As part of the career development of employees, around 50% of the survey participants would like to develop their leadership skills. On industry-related trainings, they would like to receive training in Supply Chain Fundamentals, Technological Developments in Logistics and Service/Reverse Logistics. Companies can and should do more to identify what type of training professionals require to assist/enable professionals to make career steps within the company.

In general, investment in training has two advantages for companies. It improves employees’ skills thereby increasing their productivity and also serves as the main predictor of retention. Employees feel more appreciated and see better career prospects if training is offered to them by their company. Especially in the Netherlands training is not yet perceived as a key component of a retention strategy. None of the companies surveyed in the Netherlands mention retention as a goal of training.

Europhia Consulting therefore advises these companies to use training more as part of their retention strategy and to come up with clear development processes and strategies that are visible to prospective employees as well as being a powerful tool to retaining existing employees.

HR Perspectives

Many HR professionals expressed in the survey that they focus on monetary compensation (basic salary and bonus and allowance packages) as the most effective tool to attract talent. The majority of the survey respondents actively benchmark their compensation levels against industry averages. However, it seems that this focus does not translate to salary packages being aimed at above industry averages, since the majority of the HR professionals maintain their compensation levels at an industry average level.

Only close to half of the HR professionals surveyed consider the provision of a structured career plan as an effective tool. In the previous section, it was revealed that professionals consider career opportunities as the most important factor in their career motivations. Therefore, there seems to be a gap between the tools that HR are using to attract talent versus what matters most to prospective employees. This could be an opportunity for companies to explore in redefining their HR recruitment and retention strategies.

Employerbility – The Tables Have Turned

In the nineties, the buzzword was the “employability” of individuals to better equip themselves with relevant skills and experience for the labour market. Today, as the labour market has become tight and the competition for talent increases, we at Europhia Consulting talk about “employerbility”, which describes what companies must do to be recognised as an “employer of choice”. The tables have turned. Current developments indicate that in today’s labour market it is the employer who must invest the time and effort to develop a strong HR strategy to promote the employer’s marketability. This forms the key to attracting and retaining talent. Therefore, Europhia Consulting advises clients to invest in a robust HR strategy to promote the employer’s marketability in the industry.

Most companies do not have a clear HR strategy yet to deal with the current market situation, as was shown by Europhia’s 2007 International Recruitment and Training Survey. Companies still focus too much on monetary compensation to attract talent. Although it remains an important factor, it is no longer sufficient to only offer an attractive salary package. An increasing number of professionals make their career choice based on career opportunities, company culture, management recognition, and company reputation.

Therefore, it would be advisable for companies to focus more on the “other” key factor in making a career choice, which is “career opportunities” and thus offer clearer and more structured career plans as well as opportunities for personnel development. In addition companies should also take further factors, such as corporate culture and company reputation into account. For corporate culture it is the dimension of employee orientation that is most important in attracting and retaining talent. Companies should thus invest time and resources to develop or sustain their corporate cultures in a way that makes it attractive for professionals to join and stay by acknowledging and addressing the employees’ needs.

Most importantly, companies can do more to communicate their company’s people development strategy out to the labour market to improve their “employerbility”. A wide range of marketing tools is available to improve a company’s exposure in the market place as “employer of choice”. For example, some companies run a Young Executive Talent Program, other companies are present at career fairs.

Time for actions

HR and industry professionals in different forums have written and presented around the topic of attracting and retaining talent in an overheating labour market internationally.

Even more than before it is important to recognise Human Capital as a company’s most strategic asset that can provide a competitive edge over other companies in the logistics industry. It is therefore important for companies to understand the current market place for labour, understand what really motivates (prospective) employees and to reshape their HR strategy accordingly.