The Logistics and Transport Sector: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook
The Logistics and Transport sector is a broad and varied sector. It encompasses specialist passenger and goods transport companies operating a range of different vehicle types (cars, vans, trucks, trains, aircraft and ships), as well as businesses that provide logistics services, such as warehousing and transport planning and management. It also includes companies that provide related services, such as distribution, storage, material handling and packing.
The logistics and transport sector is a strategic part of the economy, which has a vital role to play in the global supply chain servicing the manufacturing industry and enabling the movement of goods and people.
There are a wide range of career opportunities in the Logistics and Transport sector, including entry-level positions open to candidates with no experience that provide on-the-job training. For more senior roles and functions, involving responsibilities such as planning, management and optimization of production, logistics and supply chain networks, specific training - for example in Transportation Engineering, Engineering Management or Production and Logistics - may be necessary.
Generally speaking, since logistics and transport services - such as goods shipments and inbound and outbound operations at warehouses and distribution centres - need to be available on a round-the-clock basis, work shifts in the sector have a tendency to be long and demanding.
What types of businesses operate in the Logistics and Transport sector?
The majority of job openings in Logistics and Transport are with the sector’s main players, i.e. trucking and hauling companies, express couriers, global shipping companies, import/export businesses, logistics providers (providing services such as warehousing and material handling), e-commerce businesses and companies providing integrated logistics and combined/multimodal transport services, operating at freight villages, port infrastructures and airports.
Another important employer is the passenger transport sector, which includes local and national public transport companies operating trains, buses, trams and metropolitan railway services, as well as private transport and car hire with driver services.
Companies hiring in the Logistics and Transport sector:
Logistics and Transport - Trends and Job Outlook
Volumes of goods transported and global imports and exports are continuing to grow, hand in hand with the development of global infrastructure and transport systems, meaning that employment trends in the Logistics and Transport sector are currently very good.
The sector is also experiencing a number of major changes, with the advent of new technologies, such as automated systems, artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT), serving to speed up transport services and render logistics processes more cost-effective, flexible and efficient. These same developments are, however, impacting on career prospects in the Logistics and Transport sector.
Forwarders, trucking and hauling companies, couriers and logistics businesses are all heavily focused on innovating their processes and services to enhance their competitive edge. Accordingly, developments such as the use of drones and self-driving vehicles are likely to have a growing impact on the job market in the sector, affecting, for example, driver numbers and the types of jobs performed by workers in warehouses, logistics terminals, sea docks and airports.
On the other hand, in order to respond to the expansion of the goods and passenger transport sectors, companies are likely to increasingly need qualified personnel capable of tackling the new logistics and supply chain challenges and overseeing processes and productivity to ensure maximum operational efficiency.
What skills are required in the Logistics and Transport sector?
The core activities of the logistics sector are the procurement of materials, the storage, transport and distribution of products and the coordination of the various phases to ensure an efficient goods flow process. The transport sector, meanwhile, mainly involves driving vehicles in order to move goods and passengers from one location to another, as quickly, safely and cost efficiently as possible.
A number of different skills are required to work in the Logistics and Transport sector, including:
The principal task of many of the workers employed in the sector is to transport goods or passengers. All drivers (e.g. car, lorry, van or bus drivers) need a driving licence that is valid for the category (or categories of) vehicle they drive.
A licence to operate a forklift truck or other material handling vehicle is also often a requirement for jobs in the logistics industry.
Goods loading/unloading and warehouse management skills
One of the key processes in the Logistics and Transport sector is goods loading/unloading and storage. Also essential for warehouse work are a knowledge of picking, packing and storage procedures, as well as strong warehouse management skills.
Supply Chain Management
One of the main responsibilities of a logistics department is the procurement of supplies. Purchases need to be planned based on demand, with the aim of ensuring sufficient supply levels while at the same time avoiding waste and excess stock. This aspect of the job calls for strong analytical and organizational skills, as well as the ability to use supply chain planning and monitoring software.
Transport and Logistics sector workers need to be able to communicate effectively with a range of different people - including transport companies and drivers, suppliers, customers and passengers - in a calm, polite manner, even in stressful situations.
A large number of other skills may be required by companies, based on the demands of a specific role.