Business conditions are improving, according to the latest UK Logistics Confidence Index. Not only that, four out of five senior decision makers believe the industry is now in better shape that before the recession.
The bi-annual Index, commissioned by Barclays and Moore Stephens, surveyed over one hundred senior decision-makers within logistics businesses in July and August.
And although it has dipped slightly on a year again, more than half the respondents think the market is stronger that six months ago – and almost half expecting them to improve further.
Half of those surveyed expect to increase headcount while only 11 per cent are looking at reducing numbers.
However, there are problems. Pressure on margins is still a challenge, and the problem of recruitment is all too apparent. In recent weeks a number of industry leaders have spoken out about drivers shortages and there have been warnings of bare shelves at Christmas without action.
The report points out that the logistics sector currently employs around 8 per cent of the UK workforce, but will need an additional 650,000 workers between now and 2020 to meet its needs.
However, there is simply not enough new talent coming into the industry, according to the respondents. And the report suggests that while some logistics companies are committed to funding and arranging training, there are many that are not.
Perhaps the key message here is that there may well be good times ahead, but without enough trained staff a company is not going to see the benefit.