As Brexit edges its way evermore closer, logistics companies across the UK are having to face up to the effects of Britain leaving the EU and the impact that it will have on recruitment in the sector, if plans are not put in place soon.
Of the 2.54 million people that currently work in the freight and logistics industry across the UK, EU workers account for 13% of HGV drivers and 26% of warehouse operatives – proportionately large figures which are contributing to the growing sense of uncertainty for the future of the sector post-Brexit.
Worryingly, these numbers are already starting to decline and fewer European nationals are now applying for jobs in sectors where there had previously been high employment rates for EU workers
In fact, a recent survey carried out by national leading recruitment agency, Encore Personnel, highlighted that out of 796 workers questioned, 22.5% said they would leave the UK in the next two years.
These staggering statistics have brought into sharper focus the urgent need for a future-proofed recruitment plan for many logistics companies and with considerable expertise in the sector, Encore is supporting businesses across the UK to ensure that their operations keep moving forward long after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
Pete Taylor, Operations Director at Encore Personnel, said: “Entry-level workers form the backbone of the UK’s logistics sector but recruiting them has become increasingly more challenging and the referendum outcome provided the logistics industry with even greater challenges to contend with, as our report showed.
“The British economy is heavily reliant upon the free movement of temporary workers from the EU and any slow-down in supply of labour will impact negatively upon the sector. Numerous businesses have indicated their fears of the unknown relating to the future flow of EU labour to the UK of which they’ve relied upon in order to function for many years. Without this resource, they will find it even harder to recruit then it was before.
“It is important that the sector now starts to think pragmatically about how it is going to prepare for the impact of Brexit.”
Andy Lewis, also Operations Director at Encore Personnel, agrees. He highlighted that businesses will need to have a competitive plan in place to help retain staff post-Brexit.
He said: “It is clear that the recruitment focus in the logistics sector must now move away from simply fulfilling roles, to creating a more sustainable and progressive opportunity for colleagues to get into work.
“This starts by analysing the current colleague experience. Whilst in the past the opportunity to earn higher rates of pay and the ease of which roles were available were the key driving factors for workers, this now needs to be counteracted by creating a career path map and supporting workers to progress in their chosen role. This should be achieved through rigorous and consistent training and development initiatives which will in turn create more sustainable work opportunities and ensure that businesses retain their staff for longer.
“Brexit doesn’t need to be damaging to the logistics sector and its levels of productivity if businesses are prepared for the consequences now. Putting a plan in place now will help to do just that.”