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There are a wide range of roles in the logistics sector open to those with varying levels of skills, experiences and education, which could be office-based, warehouse-based or on-the-move.

There are also large numbers of people employed in logistics related roles in other sub-sectors. For example, a transport manager employed in an engineering company or a forklift driver employed in a retail company. In addition, there are people who may use logistics skills as part of their job.

19% of the logistics sector is in a management role, and of these 53% hold a Level 3 qualification.

Compared to the wider economy, employment in the sector is concentrated in the lower skilled occupations. Operatives and elementary occupations account for 47%, compared to 19% across the whole economy. Managers make up a further 19% of the workforce, which is greater than the whole economy figure of 16%.

Source: Skills for Logistics Sector Skills Assessment 2010

Occupational trends

All occupational groups will experience a positive demand in employment between 200-2017. Managers will continue to make up the greatest share of the workforce, while the proportion of transport and machine operatives and skilled trades, are expected to decline over the next decade.

Between 2007 and 2017, managerial positions are expected to see the largest increase in numbers (36,400), followed by personal services (16,300) and associate professionals (15,000). Job losses are expected within skilled trade occupations (29,400) and transport and machine operatives (9,600).

Source: Skills for Logistics Sector Skills Assessment 2010 and Working Futures 2007-2017

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Occupational skills needs

Managers comprising of 19% of the logistics workforce reportedly require: technical and practical skills; management skills; and foreign language skills.

Transport and distribution clerks comprises 12% of the workforce. It is reported that skills which are at a premium when recruiting include office/admin skills, IT skills and customer handling skills.

23% of the logistics workforce work in process, plant and machine operative positions. There is a gap of ‘good quality’ and/or ‘experienced’ drivers reported by employers in the sector. There is also a need for technical and practical skills, plus good written communication skills.

Elementary positions account for 24% of the logistics workforce. Employers report that for warehouse operative roles, literacy and numeracy skills amongst applicants are considered a problem. Team working skills are also important. An estimated 5% of those working in elementary positions are not fully proficient.

Source: Skills for Logistics Sector Skills Assessment 2010

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Occupational hard-to-fill vacancies and skill shortage vacancies

Key statistics:

  • 7% of employers in the sector report vacancies, compared to 12% in all sectors
  • 1% report hard-to-fill vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • 1% report skill shortage vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • the highest proportion of skills shortage vacancies are for operatives (66%)
  • 16% of establishments report skills gaps, compared to 19% in all sectors
  • the proportion of staff described as lacking proficiency is 6%

The impact of hard-to-fill vacancies is reported to be: increased workload for other staff; increased operating costs; need to outsource work; and loss of business or orders to competitors.

Source: National Employer Skills Survey 2009

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Salary levels

Pay scales in this sector are variable and dependent on a range of factors, so the following only provides an indication of the annual gross pat of the current workforce.

Annual gross pay in logistics occupations, 2008


Source: Skills for Logistics Sector Skills Assessment 2010, table 13. Data derived from Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2008, table 14.7a.

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Sources of occupational information

The Careers in Logistics website has a range of career profiles and case studies of real people in the sector together with examples of different career paths, including:

  • logistics graduate to transport manager
  • graduate to business director
  • fork lift to tanker driver
  • apprentice fitter to LGV driver

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for some occupations in the Storage, Dispatching and Delivery section including: Courier; Delivery Van Driver; Freight Forwarder; Large Goods Vehicle Driver; Port Operative; Postal Delivery Worker; Road Haulage Load Planner; Road Transport Manager; Supply Chain Manager; and Warehouse Operative. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

More information on specific occupations in the transport and logistics sector are available on the Graduate Prospects website aimed at graduates. Information on the occupations include: job description and activities; salary and conditions; entry requirements; training; career development; typical employers and sources of vacancies; illustrative case studies; plus useful contacts and resources. Selected occupations include: Distribution/Logistics manager; Transportation planner; and Freight forwarder.

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