With the high cost of human labour prompting more and more logistics companies to seek ways of working that rely less on people, interest in automation is greater than ever at this year’s IMHX, says Event Director, Rob Fisher.
The shrinking labour pool is certainly hitting the logistics sector hard with HGV drivers, warehouse order pickers and forklift operators all in short supply.
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Indeed, it was at a recent event organised by the Institute for Government, that the chief executive of Food and Drink Federation announced that the UK food supply chain is around half a million workers short. This represents some 12.5% of the total workforce required.
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the trade association, Logistics UK, noted 13% of respondents report severe warehouse staff shortages, with a substantial decline in the availability of forklift drivers cited as a major problem.
The worker shortage is forcing many warehouse operators to offer higher wages, and in some cases a signing on fee, in an attempt to attract the personnel needed. In November 2020, a leading online job search-engine reported the average forklift driver’s salary was advertised as £21,972, while warehouse staff positions typically paid £19,995 per annum. By November 2021, the remuneration for both forklift drivers and order pickers were up 8% year-on-year.