Logistics has never been more relevant than it is right now as the U.S. works to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. This alone has produced a new batch of talent that is interested in the innovation currently happening to meet these challenges and the opportunity to work in an industry that is truly essential.
Supply-chain programs at top tier universities are growing, with many offering competitive business degrees in supply-chain management in addition to campus clubs and organizations. Therefore, it is no surprise that over the past 12 months, talent looking to enter the logistics and supply-chain industry has continued to expand and diversify. And this trend has only been exacerbated by the growing unemployment rate brought on by the pandemic.
The most appealing aspect of any industry right now is stability, and supply chain is integral to daily life regardless of external pressures or current events. While there has been and will continue to be a focus on eating and shopping locally, things will always need to be moved from point A to B. The combination of current relevance and proven stability has made work within the logistics industry increasingly attractive to talent from college students to executives and across industries, particularly the service, hospitality and technology sectors. Employees want to know they will have a job that can weather any storm.
The transition from the service and hospitality industries is not a new trend in logistics, however, there has been heightened interest from professionals in these industries that have felt the effects of COVID-19 restrictions. People from entry-level positions all the way up to executive roles are looking for ways to apply their experience to more historically stable roles. Similar to hospitality, logistics is a service-oriented industry with a need for detail-oriented thinking. Professionals with a background in hospitality bring skills, such as a focus on customer service and problem solving, that are essential within logistics.
For mid- to senior-level employees and executives, the priorities are not much different. Changing careers right now is not easy, and those looking to transition are experiencing their second recession in less than 15 years. With nearly $800 billion in revenue in 2018, domestic transportation has proven itself to be a stable, agile industry.
An Essential Business
For most college graduates seeking entry-level positions, applying to roles in industries that are considered essential and resilient has become the priority as jobs they may have previously been interested in feel risky or even no longer exist. Candidates are craving stability. Entry-level applicants are putting extra effort into researching viable industries and educating themselves on opportunities they had never before considered.
From fulfillment centers to carriers and brokers, companies within the logistics industry ensure that businesses can continue to provide essential goods to consumers and other businesses across the U.S. when normal life is disrupted by any type of crisis, whether a global pandemic or a natural disaster.
Technology and Innovation
A lot of technology professionals have also experienced uncertainty as a result of the pandemic and have taken the opportunity to move out of what is often a very niche role into an industry where their talent is refreshing and new. Many technology skill sets are transferable, and the logistics industry values and champions varied background experience. Transitioning to an industry that is actively working to innovate old practices is an exciting challenge for technology talent, especially as logistics is an incredibly fast-growing industry that evolves constantly based on the way consumers shop, government regulations and health and weather crises.
The technology being used in this space is constantly developing to adapt to these changes and can be what sets shippers, carriers, freight brokerages and other logistics organizations apart from their competitors. In addition, logistics as a whole is attractive to technology professionals due to the investment dollars that are currently being put into the industry. Above all else, technology talent is keenly aware that money is directed to industries where innovation is happening to increase efficiencies and solve ongoing challenges.
The past 12 months have also impacted the way the logistics industry recruits and interviews talent. Expanded higher education offerings have increased the pool of graduates who are interested in supply chain and, without the roadblocks created by travel budgets, campus recruiters are able to visit as many schools as they want virtually, connecting with students from diverse backgrounds who may have previously ended up in a different industry due to proximity.
Job boards and professional social platforms are still the primary recruitment resources for positions of all levels. When coupled with virtual communication tools, it has never been easier for recruiters to connect with candidates in a meaningful way. A thoughtful, well-executed virtual interview process makes hiring more efficient than ever before for candidates and employers alike.
The logistics industry is thriving under the pressure created by the pandemic and is well positioned to continue growing. As the supply chain continues to demonstrate its resiliency while remaining top of mind for people across the U.S. who are ordering everything from groceries and toilet paper to their new cars, the industry will continue to attract talent with diverse experience at all levels for years to come.
Kari Heyens is vice president of recruiting at Arrive Logistics.
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