What trends are destined to shape the future of the Shipping and Logistics Sector in 2024 and beyond?

Logistics Made Easy lmerecruitment | 3rd Jan 2024

2023 has been a challenging year for many business sectors, and the Shipping and Logistics sector is no different. But this is nothing new. In the past four years alone, the sector has withstood the worst of the Covid pandemic and supply chain disruption, whilst navigating the fallout of uncertain economic headwinds.

Yet, despite these ongoing challenges, what’s clear is that the sector is resilient. And this bodes well for future employment prospects. As we reach the end of 2023, economic headwinds, not to mention the proliferation of AI, and more, mean that many sectors face an uncertain future.

Fortunately, the logistics and shipping sector has weathered similar challenges before. And today, at the end of 2023, despite the swirling typhoons of circumstance and change, the sector is still anchored by stronger than average career prospects.

So, what will 2024 and beyond potentially look like for shipping and logistics recruitment? Let’s have a look.

Finding new talent

According to the latest Logistics Summary Report 2023 released this year, there are 2.7 million people employed by the logistics sector across the economy as of Q4 2022. This accounts for 8.2% of the total UK employment. There are also an additional 890,000 people working in logistics roles across various other sectors, including retail, construction, and manufacturing. But more noteworthy, logistics underpins every sector of the UK economy.

Despite this, 2023 has not been all plain sailing. Inflationary pressure and economic contraction both affected business profitability. This stifled logistics business’ growth opportunities, and consequently reduced recruitment drives.

But that’s not all. The logistics recruitment sector also faced the consequences of an ageing population, a reduced attraction amongst younger demographics like Millennials and Generation Z, and a diminishing pool of EU workers.

The Logistics Summary Report 2023 specifically highlighted the severe shortage of mechanics and the sector-wide well-documented shortage of drivers. Of course, a wealth of UK sectors may have found it difficult to fill skilled roles throughout 2023 for one reason or another, so the logistics sector is not alone.

The sector needs younger, skilled candidates to take the mantle from more established generations. Many younger people want career stability in the wake of inflation and increased economic pressure.

The good news is for many a career in the logistics sector seems to be an easy decision and this will benefit the economy and young people’s career prospects. Expect 2024 to experience a continued marketing push like “Generation Logistics” to get more younger people into the sector.

Further supply chain automation efforts

The proliferation of modern technologies, including automation, blockchain, and AI, has seen supply chains evolve. It’s expected that these technologies will continue to improve real-time shipment tracking and supply chain management in the years to come.

One of the world’s largest companies, Walmart, a long-term leader in global supply chain management, has employed blockchain technology to solve a problem that has plagued the transportation industry for years: freight carrier invoice and payment data discrepancies.

Facing costly reconciliation efforts, Walmart Canada employed an innovative solution: using digital ledgers to create an automated system for managing invoices from and payments to third-party freight carriers.

Expect technology to continue to streamline operations, without compromising job security as 2024 and beyond unfolds.

It’s accurate to assume that the future might see brand new jobs created which partner workforce with technological innovation. This will present exciting new opportunities for people across the whole sector.

Candidate experience and digital modelling

Despite the relentless drive to integrate AI and automation, operational efficiency will continue to influence shrewd business decision-making. This logistics trend looks sent to continue in 2024. Any logistics recruitment should always factor candidate operational experience when building or expanding teams.

Automation modelling does have its benefits, however, it’s poor a substitute for knowledge and experience, especially when facing the realities of peak seasons or real-time fleet size changes.

In 2024 decision-makers will still need to interact with frontline operators to ensure a seamless supply chain. Operators who place their faith in their workforces and not automation will exponentially increase employee morale and trust. Better still, strong operational teams can provide valuable insight that automation just can’t, such as improved processes.

Expect logistics operators in 2024 to place a greater emphasis in hiring leaders who understand, rollout, and manage operational context. This will stabilise operations and teams, giving operators a strong platform for success.

The drive to a sustainable sector

2024 will experience a blossoming emphasis on renewable energy sources, eco-friendly packing, a concerted effort to reduce CO2 emissions, and evolving transportation routes to minimise any negative environmental effects.

However, the main sustainability trend is likely to be an increase in hydrogen-powered transportation vehicles, with more logistics providers than ever before switching to eco-friendly fleets.

One trend that’s likely to come to the forefront of the logistics recruitment sector is an increased emphasis on recruiting candidates with a commitment to green, sustainable working practices, candidates with the passion and skills to drive eco-friendly initiatives.

This could include fostering a culture of innovation by employing senior decision makers committed to change. C-suite recruiters will prioritise candidates with strong critical thinking skills, a commitment to continuous improvement, and the drive to make sure the net zero emissions targets are on track as the future unfolds.

What to expect in 2024 and beyond

The logistics sector has proven to be resilient. The last four years are testament to that. The Covid pandemic might have exposed supply chain vulnerabilities and the unfavourable economic outlook might pose challenges, however, the logistics sector is prepared to meet these challenges.

Recruiters can support sector growth by identifying those candidates with the experience, knowledge, ethos, and ambition to ensure the continued stability of the sector.

Port One Logistics Park can, in some ways, be viewed as a template for what the sector may become as 2024 unfolds. July 2023 saw an additional £20 million investment to develop four more, brand new pre-let warehousing units, complete with eco credentials like EV charging points and PV panels and it is recruitment that will drive similar projects forward.

As a preferred supplier of Recruitment Services to Port One Logistics Park, you can bet that LME is well aware of the sectoral trends, have our fingers on the pulse of the sector’s evolution, and therefore knows how to identify those candidates sure to drive your business forward in 2024 and beyond.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the logistics sector evolves in 2024 and you can bet that LME will be on the front line, supplying the candidates that providers need to succeed in a competitive landscape.






Straight from the Bird’s mouth