A range of the transport industry’s biggest operators have explained the thinking behind their recruitment strategies for the year ahead.
The companies unveiled their plans having agreed to join a major new MT panel, set up to discuss the biggest issues facing the sector.
Ian Kirkpatrick, central services director at Europa Worldwide Group said the company is now recruiting within specialist divisions of Europa Road (European roadfreight), Europa Air & Sea as well as its logistics operation Europa Warehouse. The company currently has 50 vacancies across the UK, many of which are new roles.
“In addition, we’re also recruiting for Europa’s RAPID Career Development Programme, which gives school-leavers and graduates the opportunity to become part of our Europa Road sales team at our local branch sites,” he said.
“Overall, we are hiring to meet continued demand, because of the sales increase in logistics as well as operational changes as a result of Brexit, where we have already employed a team of 60 customs specialists.
“It’s certainly been a very busy six months for us – some divisions have been impacted more than others by the pandemic due to some of the ongoing commercial restrictions, however some continue to see expansion and development. As an end to the latest lockdown is in sight, we’re expecting there will further growth across our markets.”
Sally Austin, chief people officer at Wincanton, said the company’s recruitment policy was aligned to growth opportunities in e-commerce, the public sector and infrastructure programmes: “We are constantly looking to enhance our teams with those experienced in these sectors. Across the business, we continually to increase diversity,” she said.
“Furthermore, given the way that supply chains are evolving through new technologies and innovation, we will be recruiting to add new capabilities, such as digital skills, that support innovative implementations.
“Among our driver colleagues we will look to recruit from a broader pool for this critical role. For Wincanton, this means investing in people who might not yet have acquired their specific licences. Our Apprentice Driver Licences Acquisition programme has seen a huge amount of interest both internally and externally.
“Wincanton has benefited from a significant shift to more flexible working practices, which enables us to recruit from our broad society.”
Hireco group chief executive James Smith revealed that a recruitment drive was currently underway with 2020 one of its busiest years ever.
“Right now we are strengthening our administration department and IT team,” he said. “We are also on a recruitment drive within the service centre as you would expect due to the increase in fleet size and our ongoing growth. But we also have openings for senior roles within the business. If you asked me last March if we would be on such a recruitment drive, I would certainly not have expected it.
“Our plans for future technology and alternative energy assets are at the core of where we think our growth will come, so taking on expertise and training staff on things that have never been done before is a very exciting challenge.”
XPO Logistics confirmed it was planning recruitment to support existing growth and fuel future expansion: “There will be roles in each category – management, drivers and warehouse,” said MD UK and Ireland Dan Myers. “This is not really pandemic related, it relates to the trajectory of the business over the last four or five years.”
ArrowXL chief executive Charlie Shiels admitted its volumes were impacted significantly from day one of the pandemic, but the delivery specialist is now recrutiting for the summer 2021 peak and beyond.
“Our year-to-date volumes are 25% plus on 2020 and showing no signs of dropping off,” he said. “This is not just the Covid impact but a result of contract wins in the market place. We continue to obsess about our service performance and it serves us well.
“We have really been in peak mode for almost 12 months now. We are currently in the middle of recruiting 100-plus new drivers and 100-plus new warehouse colleagues. These will all be permanent roles. Drivers required are: 3.5t, 7.5t and LGV C+E.
“This recruitment is nationwide in our hub locations and out-bases. Our hub locations are Enfield, Worcester, Wigan, Airdrie and Carrickfergus.”
Moreton Cullimore, MD of the Cullimore Group, said the two weeks before Easter always gave the firm an indication of how the year would map out and that a recruitment drive would be needed if current quotes turned into orders.
“Pre-pandemic we would always see the ‘switch flick on’ right about now and it was this time last year our forward order book was showing the most buoyant amount of work on our books,” he said. “That is until lockdown one came and took it all away.
“I believe that demand still exists, the question will be whether that switch gets flicked all the way on now in 2021 as we move progressively out of lockdown three.
“At the moment we are seeing a lot of quotation requests but only an amount of these coming online. In the next two weeks we will know more. We are poised for action providing employees with shielding notifications can safely return to work. We’ve lost a reasonable amount of our driving team to shielding and we could do with them back now.
“That said, the pandemic has nudged a few people into retirement and if all the quotation requests turn into work over the next few weeks we will be on a recruitment drive for HGV drivers and quarry operators to satisfy demand. It’s very much watch this space at the moment.”
Meachers Global Logistics
Meachers Global Logistics told MT the company is about to increase recruitment on its cruise line activity which has been suspended for the past year. “The lines are due to recommence in the third quarter of the year and training will be required prior to commencement,” explained chairman Bob Terris. “We are also recruiting drivers in the transport division as volumes increase and we have just aquired another company which will require some additional staff.”
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