Flexibility for workers

Staff shortages force 40% of logistics companies to offer flexible working

Two in five (41%) logistics firms are offering more flexible working hours to try to ensure they have enough employees to fill each shift, according to research by Indeed Flex, the online staffing platform for temporary work.

Since the pandemic, staff shortages have been a persistent problem for the warehouse and logistics sector. Two in five logistics firms (39%) say their biggest staffing challenge is ensuring enough employees to fill each shift. 

Since 2019 there has been a 43% rise in the number of job adverts for warehouse staff, with the most significant increase in the North East where demand has nearly doubled, previous analysis of ONS data by Indeed Flex showed. 

Companies previously reluctant to think outside the box

Over a quarter (28%) of professionals in the warehouse and facilities management industry surveyed by Indeed Flex said their biggest staffing challenge is recruitment, while 23% said retaining permanent and contract workers is their biggest problem.

But while firms continue to hunt for staff, it forces many to think outside of the box when filling positions daily to ensure their operations can continue as planned.

Historically, some companies in the sector have been reluctant to offer flexible working hours. Still, competition for staff with other industries that offer such flexibility may lead to a change in attitudes. 

The same proportion of companies also turns to temporary workers to pick up the load. Although the company does not directly employ temporary workers, they can still work regular and consistent shifts for the business. Two in five firms have also increased wages. 

How logistics and warehouse companies are filling vacancies

Filling vacancies

Way of filling vacanciesPercentage of companies doing it
Using temporary workers41%
Offering flexible working hours41%
Increasing wages40%
Upskilling the workforce28%
Introducing bonuses24%
Making the work more engaging – i.e. gamification20%
Introducing non-financial perks16%

Novo Constare, CEO and co-founder of Indeed Flex said: “Not having enough staff has a massive impact on the logistics sector. Deliveries go out as normal but the cost for the employer rises as limited numbers of staff work overtime to ensure the job gets done. This often leads to burnout for employees, meaning more absences and even more positions to fill.

“The fact that two in five logistics firms are turning to temporary workers and increasing wages is a real sign that they are struggling to attract people. Crucially, temporary staff still work regularly and consistently for the same employers meaning they can be an important part of hiring strategies. 

Different methods to recruit staff

“Companies are also using other methods to recruit and retain staff. While the sector has traditionally shied away from offering flexible hours to staff, they are competing for workers with other sectors that are offering much more flexibility over working hours. 

“This is leading to a change in attitudes in the sector, as employers realise flexibility is becoming increasingly important to staff and can differentiate them from other companies in a very competitive industry.”