Not just a job, but a real career

It has to be admitted that the logistics sector is one which comes with a whole bunch of preconceptions. Some of these are right, some of these are wrong.

For example, it’s an undeniably male-dominated sector. Much of the workforce is male – I don’t believe there’s any discrimination in play, it’s just the way the sector has developed.

Another preconception is that logistics isn’t a career of choice: that it’s something you do when you’re out of options, or perhaps over summer or Christmas. This is one preconception that needs busting.

So, while it’s true that much of the work is physical, it’s not true that skills aren’t needed. People who are trained are significantly safer and significantly more productive than people who aren’t. The difference isn’t trivial – trained vehicle-loading workers deliver a 50% time saving and a trained order-picker can be 80% better than a novice. Trained workers are more attractive employees. You just try to find any organisation that wouldn’t want to make its logistics 50% more efficient, or better.

But it’s not just about the job – it’s also about a career. What someone chooses to do with his or her life. Logistics isn’t currently seen as a first-choice career. But it should be.

Unlike many other sectors, someone starting work in logistics – even someone with limited qualifications – can genuinely ‘start at the bottom and work upwards’. That shelf-stacking job or pallet-loading job can in reality be just the first rung on a career ladder that can lead to so many places – everything from a different job entirely (such as driving) to something closely related (such as warehouse management).

In many ways, logistics is the biggest sector to offer this level of scope for career advancement – many other sectors may take you higher, but the entry point is higher too. You can’t start work as a lawyer (for example) without significant training and qualifications.

Skills development plays a key role in this kind of career advancement. Learning more, knowing more, being able to do more is the biggest key to unlocking that potential future. Training and qualifications also don’t just make a person better, they make an organisation better – and an industry better.

A more skilled logistics sector is one that will become more attractive to potential employees and more respected by others. So that more and more people see that the humble job in a warehouse is really just the first step towards a real career.

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