What will Brexit mean for talent in logistics?


While the effects of Brexit are being felt across the majority of industries, somewhere the UK’s exit from the EU could have a particularly acute effect is transport and logistics. As a sector that plays a crucial role in the UK’s infrastructure and overall health of the economy – understanding the potential consequences of Brexit is important for businesses and employees alike. With companies already struggling to find workers, and January fast approaching – here’s some of the key areas where Brexit could affect talent in logistics.

Brexit and talent in logistics

Increased demand for customs experts One notable shift in the situation for talent in logistics as a result of Brexit uncertainty is an increase in demand for workers with customs experience. In fact, our company data has shown 183% rise in demand year on year for workers with an understanding of the customs clearance process, documentation knowledge, tariffs & rate negotiation skills.

This could be set to increase further under a no-deal Brexit – with a UK exit from the single market still on the cards. In fact, the TUC recently stated there will be a need for ‘up to 5,000 extra people to cope’ with Brexit-related challenges.

Exacerbated talent shortages

In addition to this – there is a chance Brexit could further exacerbate existing shortages of talent in logistics – most notably the age gap. Currently, there is a dearth of young talent available to replace an ageing workforce.

With only 9% of the workforce younger than 25, and 45% over 45 years old – the industry will collectively need innovative solutions to ensure that strong talent pipelines can be built. However, a reduction in available EU workers could make this a monumental task.

Limit EU professionals

Finally, a restriction to the availability of EU professionals is perhaps the most obvious Brexit factor threatening talent in logistics. In fact, the chief executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) stated that ‘non-UK EU workers make as vital contribution to the logistics sector as their counterparts do in the National Health Service and the construction industry.’

In addition to this, in the FTA’s Logistics Skills Report 2019, declining EU net migration is cited as the main factor causing a 43% rise in job vacancies in the transport and storage industry over the past 24 months.

The report states that ‘the logistics sector is facing serious challenges in the recruitment and retention of labour: 59,000 HGV drivers alone are urgently needed to keep operations afloat. Businesses within the logistics sector are reliant on access to EU workers to help fill job vacancies; these workers currently constitute 13% of the entire logistics workforce.’

Access to quality talent

While uncertainty is the prevailing feeling amongst the logistics industry towards Brexit (along with most of the country), what’s undeniable is that exiting EU will have a sizeable impact on the skills situation in the country.

In an industry where shortages are already an issue – this means access to quality talent is absolutely crucial. At WR Logistics, regardless of the effect of Brexit, we’ll ensure your business has the necessary resources to cope. Our consultants possess an in-depth understanding of the sector and the needs of our clients and candidates.

We’ve managed staffing requirements for some of the largest organisations in the UK, covering positions of all levels. We connect the best talent in the logistics industry with exciting career opportunities at fantastic organisations.

To make your logistics job search as seamless as possible, we offer a range of services: contingent, exclusive, and our brand new model, WR Search. This retained service saves businesses time and money, providing state-of-the-art insight, behavioural analysis, and advanced tools for candidates to land their dream jobs.

If you’re seeking a new position, or are an organisation with vacancies in this area, contact us today