Making the Logistics Industry More Attractive for Young Professionals

Logistics is the third largest economic sector in Germany, but it often suffers from an image problem amongst the general public. Young professionals clearly have a poor impression of the industry too, as a representative study by consultancy and market research company Trendence has revealed. As part of the study, 18,000 young professionals with up to ten years’ career experience were asked about their preferred employers and career plans. Logistics came in third to last place out of 14 industries, making it comparatively unattractive for young professionals with an academic background. “Die Wirtschaftsmacher” (The Economy Makers), an initiative run by German logisticians, is aiming to change that. Their country-wide image campaign “Logistics Heroes” is due to launch in the second half of 2019.

Top 10 employers in logistics 2018

  • 1. Lufthansa Group 49.3% 49.3%
  • 2. Deutsche Bahn 34.4% 34.4%
  • 3. Deutsche Post DHL 16.8% 16.8%
  • 4. Fraport 16.4% 16.4%
  • 5. Deutsche Flugsicherung 14.2% 14.2%
  • 6. Kühne + Nagel 14.0% 14.0%
  • 7. Flughafen München 13.2% 13.2%
  • 8. Schenker 10.0% 10.0%
  • 9. Jungheinrich 8.2% 8.2%
  • 10. Dachser 5.5% 5.5%

The initiative aims to draw attention to the logistics sector, raise its attractiveness for potential and existing employees, highlight the sector’s importance for the German economy and improve its image. The campaign was presented publicly for the first time in October 2018 at the German Logistics Congress in Berlin.

The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG) is also among the supporters of the campaign. The Frankfurt-based organization represents the interests of more than 100 airlines operating in Germany. “Our airlines from the airfreight, passenger and tourism sectors and our business partners are an important part of the logistics industry, both in Germany and internationally,” says BARIG General Secretary Michael Hoppe. “The topical issues in our industry at the moment include experts, innovative concepts, digitization and modern structures. This is why we are engaging in this campaign to achieve more recognition and a more positive image for the logistics sector, which is so important to Germany as a center of business.”

Along with BMW, Siemens and Airbus, BARIG is one of the more than 40 supporters of the “Logistics Heroes” initiative, which is made up of companies, unions and associations as well as media partners.

Frauke Heistermann, spokesperson for the “Image of Logistics” forum and BVL board member.

The idea behind the campaign was developed by the “Image of Logistics” working group of the German Logistics Association (BVL). Societies, associations, institutes, logistics service providers as well as industry and commerce joined forces in a targeted way. “For three years in this forum, we have been putting our creativity and passion to work on the issue of how to improve the image of logistics. Now we have found a pragmatic solution which is clearly a success,” says Frauke Heistermann, speaker of the forum and member of the BVL executive board. For many potential employees, the sector currently comes as third choice at best, which is also down to the lack of visibility of logistics. “The logistics sector has good growth potential, not least due to digitization and innovations. However, we will increasingly see problems in performance if we are not able to attract new employees with the right qualifications,” says Heistermann. New forms of recruiting are needed to reach as many people as possible, both within and beyond the logistics sector. These should use authentic testimonies to inspire them, shared via online and offline media, carefully selected to appeal to specific target groups.

Recognition and Development are Important to Young Professionals

The key is to keep the target group in mind and get to the heart of what makes a career in the logistics industry attractive. “It has to be credible, unique, catchy and appeal to the candidates you want to convince,” says Robindro Ullah, Managing Director of the Trendence Institute. Many young professionals complained about the lack of career opportunities in logistics companies. Employees who already work in the sector tend to be less satisfied than those in other industries. Among the factors that need to be improved on the side of employers are management style, pay and prospects. “For employees, it certainly isn’t always about the next step on the career ladder – instead, they’re interested in recognition and development,” says Ullah.

Alongside financial benefits, such as taking on the cost of membership to a fitness studio, logistics companies need to invest, above all, in the further development of their leadership teams. “As well as traditional management career paths, we need to build progression and development models which make it possible for employees to make a career as an expert, or to retrain or reorient themselves within the company with project work or job rotations,” Ullah recommends. Ultimately, it is about structuring the further development of employees with regular training and coaching sessions. “Pair up these measures with praise and recognition and express appreciation openly, and you will not only gain a high level of commitment, but you will also complete the circle of good management.” It is this last factor that is crucial for many employees, the Managing Director of the Trendence Institutes explains – according to him, “Very few employees leave a company – most leave a manager.”

Robindro Ullah, Managing Director of the Trendence Institute.

Text by Benjamin Klare
Graphics: Trendence
Photos: Pixabay, Christoph Müller/BM Productions, Die Wirtschaftsmacher, Trendence

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