Very few in talent acquisition would argue against the fact that recruiting and hiring in the warehousing and logistics space has become a distinct challenge. In addition to changing workplace dynamics, changes in the values of job seekers and a market that offers candidates a plethora of job options, the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on this sector that continues to significantly impact the supply chain.
According to an industry survey conducted late last year, 9 out of 10 supply chain leaders expressed a need to increase hiring to meet peak season demands, and 47% were prioritizing attracting and retaining employees.
Positions in warehousing and logistics occasionally suffer from a bad reputation, but they’re actually great jobs with impressive benefits. Additionally, the scope of job availability across the educational spectrum is very wide. These roles are essential in everyone’s lives, thus it’s important to keep positions filled – and educating the audience is essential to attracting talent.
This article will address how employers and recruiters can help to change perceptions about jobs in warehousing and logistics, and cover steps that employers can take to ensure that they’re not only attracting candidates, but the right ones for the positions they seek to fill.
In 2021, as consumers found grocery stores and retail shelves increasingly empty, millions suddenly learned what this invisible “supply chain” actually was, and how it functions. “The pandemic caused port delays, transport aircraft shortages, and halts in component manufacturing which have resulted in extreme uncertainty in delivery times, which in turn caused further disruptions” (Thomson Reuters). Such issues continue to plague the logistics sector, and shortages of some goods remain common.
Whether or not it’s apparent to the average consumer, nearly all of these difficulties had their genesis in staffing issues.
Part of educating job seekers about jobs in warehousing and logistics involves positioning roles in such a way that the roles and the industry are attractive to candidates. The fundamental aspects of positions being offered need to be communicated very clearly across the various media where jobs will be featured. These will include things like the job title, job purpose, job description, and the job’s duties and responsibilities.
In this case, the job’s duties and responsibilities (sometimes referred to as essential functions) are an excellent opportunity to highlight the attractive aspects of specific positions in warehousing and logistics. These describe the basic nature of a job which will occupy a large proportion of the employee’s time, so they should be represented in such a way that they are in fact attractive to candidates.
Rather than appealing to those whom managers in warehousing and logistics might traditionally target (e.g., high school graduates, current warehouse workers, those with blue collar backgrounds), today, recruitment professionals in this sector are putting greater emphasis on recruiting for wider audiences and demographics in the talent pool. What this means is that they’re focusing more on things like diversity and inclusion, as well as generational recruiting to attract candidates.
These days, many candidates have their “radar” regarding DEIB issues and messaging; thus, it stands to reason that courting these candidates with messaging that speaks to a company’s inclusivity and DEIB initiatives will make that company more attractive to these candidates. Messaging and targeting that is geared toward veterans can help a company bring former service members to the table.
One of the misconceptions some job seekers have regarding warehousing and logistics is that the pay and other benefits in this sector are sub-par, when the opposite is true. Some will remember that as the pandemic lockdowns eased, many industries offered record-setting signing bonuses for new hires, and warehouses factored prominently with respect to this phenomenon.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary in logistics in the U.S. is $43,454 per year. Warehousing jobs in the U.S. currently range from $31,000 to over $50,000. This of course depends on the role; a forklift operator is certain to earn more than a packer, for example.
As such, emphasizing the financial compensation offered by the company is a great way to stand out from the competition. However, pay isn’t the only important benefit, so it’s important to ensure that all benefits are showcased, as well as any aspects of compensation that differentiate the company from the competition. Healthcare and retirement are obviously important, but since the pandemic, job seekers are also giving high marks to companies that offer remote work and benefits that accommodate childcare and elder care.
In recruiting for the warehousing and logistics space, it is important to position the business on as many channels as possible to raise awareness. This is because (as mentioned earlier) the scope of available positions in this sector is quite wide, including everything from entry-level warehouse workers to executive-level managers. In addition, companies in the same industry are often structured differently. This is one reason why being well-informed regarding roles, role types, and role options is essential to attracting new talent.
Social media is a great way to get younger audiences, too. Gen Z, for example, is the newest group to join the ranks of the workforce, and they represent the biggest group coming into the workforce. A focus on this group by recruiters will not only serve to bring more Gen Z’ers into logistics, but the fact that they network so vigorously can help to change perceptions regarding this industry within this demographic and beyond.
When focusing on the places frequented by the target audience, showcasing the employer brand is vital, as is authenticity, particularly with younger audiences. To this end, utilizing video – an imperative with younger job seekers – to showcase how amazing the industry, company, and team are has been proven to help convert candidates.
So, recruiters will need to craft messaging that’s appropriate for audiences on TikTok as well as LinkedIn, and everything in between. Getting on more channels can help a company attract new talent pools, such as people who are looking to leave their current job or industry for new opportunities in logistics.
Given the wide range of jobs within the warehousing and logistics sector, programmatic job advertising can both save time and cut advertising costs. Programmatic platforms provide greater spend efficiency in bid-based marketplaces, allowing talent acquisition professionals to streamline their ad buying decisions based on algorithms and performance data. Ad buyers can then plug in the requisite data (e.g., demographics, background, roles) and the platforms do the rest.
Over the last several years, mobile recruitment quickly went from a novelty to an essential function. Today, 89% of job seekers see their mobile devices as critical to their job searches, with 45% using their phones to search for jobs on a daily basis. Candidates expect to be able to research, find, and apply to jobs from a mobile device. This means that any company without a solid mobile recruiting practice is missing out on a huge segment of the talent pool.
A lot of people in this industry use Indeed, which is geared to make the application process as simple as possible for candidates – and of course, it is extremely mobile-friendly. Many job seekers currently working in the logistics space are using their phones rather than desktops or laptops since they're traveling in their current roles.
It’s important to bear in mind that having a mobile-friendly recruitment strategy doesn’t just benefit candidates. As an added bonus, it can also cut time off of lengthy recruiting cycles, putting team members in a better position to engage and win over top candidates.
Owing to the fierceness of competition at present, it is essential that companies have a hiring process that’s as smooth as possible. Having job descriptions that accurately reflect the company’s needs, clarity in roles, responsibilities, and duties are a good start – but there’s more.
The application process should be short and simple. For companies that employ background checks, having a straightforward process and fast turnaround can support a positive candidate experience. Quality, well-considered screening questions in the beginning of the process are also important for including or excluding candidates early on. For example: Do you have a CDL license? Are you 18? Can you get a CDL license?
With all the above factors considered, recruitment marketing professionals will be ready to craft targeted and effective recruitment advertising campaigns. In addition to adhering to overall best practices, it’s important to maintain engagement with the most influential venues, as well as those frequented by specific professional or demographic groups.
Google ads remain the industry standard, and have the advantage of being featured across cyberspace. Facebook ads are also highly influential, as the platform still boasts 2.19 billion monthly active users and 1.3 billion active daily users. Here, keeping employer social and company profiles up-to-date also helps when candidates are doing research; easy-to-find information means candidates are more likely to apply.
While hiring in this unique niche requires a more refined approach than in some other industries, a focus on changing the perspectives of candidates searching for jobs in the warehousing and logistics industries can help attract and retain more quality talent in the long term. Also, these jobs are amazing and candidates might be missing out on them, so this is the time to showcase this industry!
Interested in learning more about recruiting for the warehousing and logistics space? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!