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Logistics hotspots of skills in demand

The second of Hays’ bi-annual Logistics Job Reports for the year 2019 highlights some areas with significant vacancy rates in the transport and logistics area.
This vacancy activity will be focused on multi-skilled candidates across transport, warehousing and supply chain. This is the result of a focus on efficiency improvements and positive productivity, with employers looking for candidates with a strong knowledge of systems and processes and a history of reducing costs, achieving demanding KPI and diverse experience. Employers also want candidates with a wide technical skillset whom they can utilise to their full potential.
Within the transport industry, strained transport networks in Sydney and Melbourne will continue to fuel demand for Transport Allocators. With a busier transport sector in Brisbane, there is a need for Transport Allocators and experienced Transport Supervisors and Managers to lead operations. Employers require candidates with experience in a similar role.
Lateral thinking Transport Coordinators and Managers who cope well under pressure and find the best route at the cheapest rate are also in demand.
Casual HR Drivers as well as MC Drivers with an MSIC card are needed. So are HR and HC Drivers who are open to a multi-skilled role such as driving and labouring.
Freight Forwarders remain in demand but require relevant experience. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has increased vacancy activity in freight forwarding across Australia and subsequently demand for Import/Export professionals, with a focus from employers on sea freight and Mandarin speaking candidates. Those with CargoWise knowledge are also sought.
The heavy vehicle regulations will continue to create demand in the transport sector for qualified Supervisors with a Chain of Responsibility accreditation.
Within warehouse and distribution, Warehouse Managers and Supervisors are required. Candidates must be analytically sound with a proactive approach to KPI. As companies continue to appreciate the benefit of improving logistical efficiencies, candidates who can track, monitor and manage KPI performance are highly sought after. Warehouse
Supervisors willing to manage small teams are also required.
In the warehousing sector, diploma or degree qualified candidates with experience in lean principles are sought.

Distribution of vacancies

In a localised trend, New South Wales’ growing 3PL footprint is leading to demand for Warehouse Managers, Logistics Coordinators, Analysts, Pallet Controllers and Dispatch Coordinators. Employers want to ensure maximum efficiency is achieved and KPI and contracts are being met. Expectations from 3PL employers are growing and they therefore look for candidates who can ensure service delivery levels are met, if not exceeded. They also want to see degree qualified candidates with experience in a similar environment.
Import and Export Coordinators are another area of demand. With many companies moving their manufacturing overseas, candidates with international shipping experience and cargo software knowledge are required.
Dispatch Coordinators are needed, too.
Wharf Fleet Controllers are also sought in response to turnover resulting from the high pressure working environment. Employers look for candidates with wharf experience and a secure, stable and successful career within this space.
In the SME sector, inventory control professionals who can develop procedures to improve inventory accuracy and transparency are required.
Inventory Controllers are another area of demand. The duties of this role were once the responsibility of Warehouse Supervisors, however employers now have strict stock levels tolerance.
Store persons with inventory management software experience are needed too. Companies seek multi-skilled candidates who can manage inventory needs, possess strong computer skills, a forklift license and the ability to load and unload deliveries, pick and pack orders and tidy a store.
Forklift Operators skilled in operating different attachments and High Reach Forklift Operators are sought. While Forklift Operators are available, those with attachment and high reach expertise are rare, as are those who have worked in busy warehouses and have strong navigation skills.
Casual Skilled Labourers are needed for one to two-day assignments. With most people looking for longer-term assignments, reliable candidates for short-term roles are rare.
Another interesting trend is the recovery of the senior level supply chain market. Today, candidates with change management experience, from both a people and process perspective, are in high demand. This is a result of organisations realising the impact that big data, systems and technology can have on improving efficiencies and reducing costs. Individuals who can coach a business through this transition are highly sought after in the current market.
Demand also exists for quality Supply and Demand Planners and S&OP Managers who have worked with complex manual based systems, have exposure to and have assisted with the development of S&OP processes and implementations, possess an analytical and commercial focus and can influence and educate internal stakeholders across an organisation.
Finally, fixed-term contracts and project roles are available. This is a notable change in a market that was previously dominated by permanent roles.

Salary trends

According to our FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, more logistics professionals will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for.
We found that 92% of employers will increase their transport and distribution staff salaries in their next review, up from 83% who did so in their last review.
However, the value of these increases will fall. 71% intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 63% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 3% of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%. The number of employers who will increase salaries at the mid-level, between 3 and 6%, has risen slightly, from 17% to 18%.
There are only a few exceptions. The recovery of the senior supply chain market led to demand for Supply Chain Managers and, in turn, mid-tier Demand and Supply Planners. In some states, salaries have increased in response to this demand.
Tasmania’s positive economic climate led to a surge in interstate and international exports. Looking ahead, salaries are expected to increase in the state for Multi Combination Drivers and Warehouse Supervisors, who remain in short supply.

DHL CEO reveals growth strategy: people, planet and profit

Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel has revealed that his employee engagement strategy includes sharing purpose and doing good.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Appel explained that he measures three bottom lines at the helm of the global logistics company.
Alongside financial performance, he also measures employee satisfaction, through an annual company-wide survey, and environmental impact via a carbon efficiency index.
Appel noted that it is crucial that companies have, and employees fully understand, a clear purpose, both for engagement and growth.
“What drives people is not top-line growth,” he said. “Our purpose has to be very explicitly understood by every employee. The more it is understood the better the performance of the company.”
Appel explained that his experiences working at consultancy McKinsey earlier in his career showed him that the best companies were those where engaged employees were making the lives of customers easier, and engagement can be achieved by recognising workers’ core needs.
“We have three needs,” he said: love, hope and purpose. “If you treat them properly, humans are very similar.”
DHL’s social efforts include its research and development into green – electric and emissions-free – courier vehicles, and its Go Help initiative, which utilises DHL’s logistics expertise to respond to crises such as the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.
“We cannot say, ‘Listen, our strategy is to make money and if we have time left then we’ll do something which is good for the society’,” he said. “Our job is to do something good for the society, and to do that, we have to make money – otherwise we can’t continue to invest.”

Australia to scrap 457 visa program

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the 457 skilled visa program will be replaced by a new visa with added requirements for temporary foreign workers.
“We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first…we are an immigration nation, but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,” the PM announced this week via social network Facebook. “We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.”
The 457 visa program was designed for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in the country temporarily. The program offered two main pathways – business sponsorship and self-sponsorship.
It will now be replaced by two temporary visas – one for two-year stays and another for four-year stays. Under the new system, employers wishing to sponsor individuals for the visas will be required to prove that candidates have at least two years of previous work experience and a higher level of English language competence than is currently required. They will also need to carry out stricter labour market testing and have the candidate undergo a criminal background check.
According to the Federal Government, the number of eligible jobs for the visas will be cut from 651 to 435, with application fees to increase. It also said that current 457 visa holders will not be affected by the changes.
The Business Council of Australia said the cancellation of the 457 program will help rebuild public confidence. “The capacity for businesses to hire temporary workers to fill genuine skill shortages has been an overall boon for Australia, allowing the economy to ride out volatile economic cycles – including in the mining industry,” said Jennifer Westacott, CEO, Business Council.
“Businesses naturally prefer to hire Australians wherever possible – it’s easier, it’s cheaper and it means workers come ready with valuable local knowledge and skills. However, when there aren’t enough skilled workers available, a small number of temporary visas can be the deciding factor in whether or not a large investment goes ahead.
“Now that the Government has taken this decision, it is crucial that they work with employers to get the details right and ensure industry’s ability to fill genuine skills shortages is enhanced, not degraded.
“If we’re serious about getting Australians into skilled jobs, we must also revitalise our neglected vocational education and training system which has been treated like the poor cousin of the universities. We also need to look at the kinds of incentives that could encourage Australians to take up jobs in regional areas.”

VTA CEO Peter Anderson welcomed the Commonwealth’s review of the 457 visa system.

“The replacement of the current scheme by a two-tiered system will provide focus on industry based skill shortages that will also attract training funding,” Anderson said.

“It is expected that there will be more funds available for training in industries that will have a skills shortage, it will also give the opportunity for the transport industry to identify and develop specific skill shortages that will attract training funding.

“The 457 system has been taken advantage of by industry sectors and employment groups for years.

“The new system will provide greater accountability and will identify the areas of real skill shortage.”

In a statement, the Australian Truck Association (ATA) noted that  the abolishment of the 457 visa program should have little effect for truck drivers since the occupation is not currently featured on the list of eligible job positions.

“It is currently possible to bring truck drivers into Australia under labour agreements where appropriate, and these proved invaluable for employers in regional areas during the mining investment boom,” the statement said. “This announcement made it clear that these regional arrangements can continue where required.

“The ATA is concerned about the quality of truck driver training and assessment generally, not just for overseas drivers. There are many excellent trainers. Others train to a price.

“They guarantee how long the course will take, regardless of how competent you are at the end of it, or they do not use industry standard equipment. Operators are particularly concerned about the variable quality of training in chain of responsibility, load restraint, fatigue management and work health and safety.”

The ATA is a member of the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee, which was set up by the Australian Government to provide advice on training standards.

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