logistics and customs skills shortage

Shortage of Customs & logistics staff and how we are tackling it

There has been a perfect storm recently in terms of UK port congestion, Brexit and of course the pandemic.

Brexit has driven the demand for experienced Customs & forwarding staff dramatically, and we are now working with more companies than ever throughout the UK, who are keen to hire & quickly.

However, with the pandemic peaking again, the majority of staff employed in the sector are not currently looking for a new opportunity, this is for a number of reasons in which some include:

  1. I’m in a secure role, why would I leave and take the risk with all the uncertainly in the world / economy – basically fear
  2. I’m working from home
  3. The kids are being home schooled, I can’t add to the pressure by starting a new job
  4. I would need to form relationships with new colleagues at this difficult time, let alone being trained on new systems, work practices etc… this will no doubt be hindered by social distancing & covid safe working
  5. I’m currently still furloughed
  6. I have been here for 8 years and even though my job looks uncertain, if I stay and get made redundant, I should get a good redundancy package
  7. Is the grass really greener?
  8. Better the devil you know
  9. Do I even want to stay working in this industry?

And I could go on…

All valid thought processes I am sure you will agree. The media is full of fear and uncertainty, it’s hard to see a positive in most situations. So, let’s be honest, unless you are not currently employed, is now really a good time to look for a new job?

There was a shortage of candidates within the freight & logistics sector well before the pandemic started, but we have seen applications & enquiries from experienced shipping, freight & logistics staff dramatically fall even more over the last, well almost a year now.

But with companies needing to recruit experienced staff & quickly, the demand is there, and we need to use every weapon in our armoury to source & attract logistics professionals & ultimately present them with great opportunities, with good companies that genuinely offer better career progression prospects, salary & package and working environment than the job they are in at the moment (ideally a mixture of all 3). Plus, in addition to this, addressing their concerns in moving employers at a time when the world has turned upside down.

This is our job, and the mission we have chosen to accept 😊

So, how do we find these candidates for our clients?

As a company built on the opposite of all that is not quite right within the recruitment industry. Shouting transparency & honesty as two of our main core values, one thing we don’t do is headhunt at operator level. Senior management & director level roles, yes. Coordinator & operator level no.

Many do… they will place staff through your front door whilst at the same time taking your existing staff out of your backdoor & placing them with a competitor down the road.

What we do:

  • We have a close network of freight forwarders & logistics professionals who have made contact with us & registered their interest in receiving details of new opportunities, or have made clear they are always open for a discussion for the right role
  • As with most agencies we use all the job boards like reed.co.uk, CV Library, Total Jobs, Indeed etc… a little hit and miss, but we have a presence their 365 days a year, 24/7, so when whenever anyone is browsing, we are there
  • Our own website sdwrec.com is very powerful. Our google analytics show we have thousands of job seekers every month visit our job listings. Some apply, some are being nosey, some just looking for that right role and keep coming back
  • Social media – we have thousands of followers, all of them work within the sector. We have a strong presence particularly on LinkedIn, where we also advertise our jobs
  • Facebook Ads – we run targeted paid for ads regularly
  • Google paid ads (was adwords) – ensuring we are sitting at the top of the page whenever a job seeker starts their search for a new job
  • Email campaigns – we send regular eshots to over 5000 industry professionals
  • Referrals by reputation – candidates like us, we are not salesy, we are honest, and we don’t pressure anyone into taking a job that is not right for them. This results in industry professionals recommending us to their friends & colleagues, many use us exclusively
  • Exposure, exposure, exposure – with a combination of all our marketing efforts we aim to be top of mind whenever any logistics professional is thinking about making their next career move
  • Did I mention trust & reputation? We will always act in a candidate’s best interest, even if that means us not making a placement. This forms trust & likability, and candidates come back
  • Always looking for a better way – looking for new innovative ways to market our jobs and improve the recruitment journey for both clients and candidates. Embracing change & trying new things is a core strategy at SDW Recruitment

All the above, combined with a little special dollop of SDW secret sauce, this is how we do it…

Recruitment is not easy, especially now, but with SDW we can guarantee you we will do our very best in helping you make your next great hire!

If we can help, or you’d like any advise or insights into recruiting for the logistics sector (without obligation), don’t hesitate to get in touch with me – steve.wyeth@sdwrecruitment.co.uk it would be a pleasure to hear from you.


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