Skills Supply – Part 1

Transport & Logistics Deep Dive LSIP

Over the past five years, the transport and logistics sector has experienced substantial growth. Notably, there has been a 4% increase in roles, which aligns with the national trend. However, this growth significantly outpaces the East of England, where the increase was only 1%1. This surge in the industry has been driven by various factors, including the rise of online shopping and the expansion of logistics premises, particularly in the Midlands. Despite challenges posed by Brexit negotiations and the COVID-19 pandemic, the transport and logistics industry remain a vital contributor to the UK economy, accounting for nearly 9% of UK GVA and approximately 7% of total employment.

Upon closer examination of the data, we observe significant growth in specific roles within the transport and logistics sector:

1. Warehouse Operatives (28% increase)
2. Elementary Storage Supervisors (25% increase)
3. Delivery Operatives (24% increase)

Conversely, certain roles experienced decline:

1. Vehicle Body Builders & Repairers: 30% decrease.
2. Vehicle Paint Technicians: 26% decline.
3. Vehicle & Parts Salespersons and Advisors: 23% reduction.

These trends highlight the dynamic shifts within the industry,

Source: Lightcast Occupational table 2018 – 2023 KK Nov 23. Please note red figures denote a minus figure.

Vacancies

This section provides an analysis of the employment landscape within the transport and logistics sector over a twelve-month period, from November 2022 to November 2023.

Key Statistics:

Total Vacancies: There were 23,389 job vacancies reported.
Employers Involved: A total of 3,067 employers reported these vacancies.
Vehicle Technicians: This role had the highest demand, with vacancies nearly doubling that of any other position.
Drivers: High demand for drivers is evident, with eight out of the top ten vacancies being driving-related roles.

The data indicates a robust demand for skilled professionals in the transport and logistics sector, particularly for vehicle technicians and drivers. The high number of vacancies reflects the sector’s growth and the critical need for a workforce equipped with the relevant technical skills. Addressing this demand is essential for maintaining the efficiency and sustainability of the sector’s operations.

An analysis of job vacancies within the East of England has identified a significant trend: driving positions dominate the top ten vacancies. This trend is indicative of a regional shortage of candidates with the appropriate qualifications for these roles.

A closer examination of the job vacancies reveals a discrepancy between the skills listed in job advertisements and those presented by candidates in their CVs. Skills such as ‘warehousing’ and ‘vehicle maintenance’ are frequently mentioned in job postings. However, these skills are not consistently highlighted by applicants in their CVs.

To address this skills mismatch, it is essential to conduct further research to determine whether there is a genuine lack of these skills among candidates or if improvements are needed in how candidates present their skills in CVs, particularly for the transport and logistics sector.

The disparity between the skills sought by employers and those offered by candidates highlights the need for targeted interventions. By addressing this issue, we can better align the workforce with the demands of the job market, particularly in the transport and logistics sector. This alignment is crucial for the economic development of the East of England.

The regional skills analysis has highlighted a consistent demand for specialist skills within the East of England. Addressing this need is crucial for the region’s economic development and the employability of its workforce.

The examination of the job market reveals a clear requirement for specific competencies that are currently in short supply. These skills are essential for the performance and growth of key sectors in the region.

To bridge the skills gap, it is imperative to concentrate efforts on equipping the workforce with these vital skills. This can be accomplished through two primary avenues:

Developing and offering new qualifications that cater to the evolving needs of the industry will enable learners to acquire the necessary skills from the outset of their careers.

Implementing strategic upskilling programs for the current workforce will ensure that they remain competitive and capable of meeting the demands of their respective industries.

The consistent demand for specialist skills necessitates a focused approach to workforce development. By introducing new qualifications and upskilling initiatives, the East of England can ensure that its workforce is well-prepared to contribute to the region’s economic success.

The transport and logistics sector has identified a significant skills gap, particularly in the area of soft skills. Data from the initial Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) indicates that employers are encountering a notable deficiency of these skills among potential candidates.

An analysis of job advertisements within the sector reveals a marked disparity between the skills sought by employers and those presented by job seekers. The top three skills demanded in job postings are as follows:

  • Communication: Present in 21% of job adverts, yet only 4% of candidate profiles mention this skill.
  • Customer Service: Required by 20% of advertisements, but similarly, only found in 4% of profiles.
  • Attention to Detail: Listed in 10% of adverts, this skill is absent in candidate profiles.

It is imperative for all sectors to intensify their focus on soft skills. Training and development programs must incorporate these competencies to bridge the existing skills gap. Ensuring that soft skills are a fundamental component of professional development will align candidate qualifications with employer expectations, thereby enhancing the efficacy of the recruitment process.

The regional skills assessment has revealed consistent patterns across the East of England, particularly concerning the scarcity of soft skills among the workforce.

The data indicates a pervasive gap in soft skills, which are increasingly sought after by employers in various industries. This gap poses a significant challenge to the region’s economic development and the employability of its workforce.

To address this shortfall, it is crucial to implement strategic provisions aimed at workforce development. These provisions should be tailored to cultivate the soft skills that are in high demand by employers. By doing so, we can ensure that the workforce is equipped with the necessary competencies to meet the evolving needs of the job market.

The establishment of targeted training initiatives will not only enhance individual employability but also contribute to the overall economic prosperity of the East of England. It is essential that these initiatives receive the support and collaboration of educational institutions, businesses, and local authorities to achieve their full potential.

A deep analysis of job vacancy distribution has identified key hotspots within the East of England. These areas are closely linked to the region’s infrastructure, suggesting a correlation between location advantages and job availability.

Key Findings:

Thurrock exhibits a higher average of vacancies, likely due to the Port of Tilbury and proximity to the M25, serving as a prime location for transport and logistics companies.

The areas surrounding Stansted Airport, particularly Braintree and Harlow, show a significant number of vacancies, underscoring the airport’s role as a critical employment hub.

Colchester and Chelmsford is positioned along the A12, these locations report higher vacancy rates, offering advantageous access for businesses operating within the region.

Basildon, noted for its robust motorway links and strategic location near both the East of England and London, Basildon attracts a dense cluster of logistics firms.

The highlighted hotspots demonstrate the importance of strategic location in relation to the county’s infrastructure. The proximity to key transport routes and hubs like ports and airports is instrumental in driving job creation in the transport and logistics sector. This report underscores the need for continued investment in infrastructure to support economic growth and job market expansion in the region.

The graph presents the average advertised salaries in Essex, comparing them with adjacent regions and the national average to gauge Essex’s competitive positioning in wage offerings.

Upon examination, Essex demonstrates a marginally higher salary average compared to the broader national and regional wage figures. However, when juxtaposed with neighbouring counties such as Kent and Suffolk, Essex’s average advertised salary does not reach the same levels.

In the context of transport and logistics roles specifically, the advertised salaries in Essex show a close alignment with the national average salary, which stands at £27,756.

Essex maintains a competitive edge in salary offerings on a national and regional scale, albeit with room for improvement when compared to certain adjacent counties. The alignment of transport and logistics role salaries with the national average suggests a standardisation of wage levels within this sector across the UK. This benchmarking exercise underscores the necessity for ongoing salary reviews to ensure Essex remains an attractive location for skilled professionals.