Insights on talent trends in transportation and logistics 

The transportation and logistics industry continues to grapple with the significant effects of geopolitical events on global supply chains.

Despite efforts to adapt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations face persistent supply chain vulnerabilities. The conflict in Ukraine has reverberated beyond the Black Sea region while escalating tensions in the seas surrounding the Suez Canal, compelling many organizations to reassess their shipping routes. Furthermore, heightened uncertainties from elections in 64 countries in 2024 add another layer of complexity, creating a near-perfect storm for supply chains.

Organizations are navigating these challenges by developing innovative solutions to ensure the uninterrupted flow of goods and services. By remaining agile and adaptable, organizations are effectively mitigating risks and capitalizing on opportunities within this dynamic environment. Drawing on lessons from Mercer’s 2024 Global Talent Trends: Insights From the Transportation and Logistics Industry, we’ve identified several strategies for addressing organizations’ top pressure points. These include:

  • Embracing the changing nature of business

    Leading employers in the industry recognize the importance of sustainability in attracting and retaining talent. They are building brands that deliver on sustainability goals as current and potential employees and consumers increasingly expect companies to uphold sustainability standards. By aligning their business strategies with sustainability objectives, organizations can create a positive impact and enhance their reputations.

    Sustainability also includes the need for organizations to look after their employees. Our research identified much work to be done. Within transportation and logistics organizations, 39% of employees expect their employers to ensure a living wage, yet only 35% of executives report having this in place. Further, 47% of employees expect their employers to implement minimum standards for health and well-being offerings, yet only 37% of executives report having this in place.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and digitalization are further transforming the transportation landscape, providing opportunities to increase efficiency and sustainability while enhancing customer experiences. Both C-suite executives and employees agree that one of the most significant hindrances to employee productivity is having too much “busy work” (tasks that don’t add value). To reduce busy work, organizations should embrace technological innovations like AI and large language models, automating tasks to free up time for employees to concentrate on work that adds greater value.

  • Evolving organizational culture
    Culture plays a crucial role in employee retention and well-being. Employers are building cultures rooted in trust and equity to foster a sense of belonging and support employee growth. Prioritizing workplace flexibility and increased diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) helps to create environments that promote productivity and innovation.

    The HR leaders in our study report that the industry is characterized by centralized decision-making, economics over empathy and an expertise-over-experimentation mindset. This approach may need to change as it can limit agility and innovation, two factors that are needed most to support sustainability efforts. However, most HR executives also report that the industry has a healthy work culture with high trust, where employees feel genuinely cared for.
  • Addressing well-being holistically
    Employee well-being is a top priority for organizations in the sector given that 74% of employees report being at risk of burnout within the next 12 months. The demanding nature of the work can lead to burnout and disengagement. To combat this, employers are implementing holistic well-being programs that address physical, mental and financial aspects. Businesses can create a healthier and more engaged workforce by providing training and resources for designing work to improve employee well-being, along with opportunities for employees to build skills such as mindfulness and resilience to strengthen mental health.

    Employers can no longer afford to ignore difficult discussions regarding employee well-being. Providing an environment in which open discussion is encouraged and accepted without fear of reprisal or recrimination is essential.
  • Blending the human and digital
    Digital transformation is reshaping the transportation and logistics industry as organizations leverage emerging technologies such as AI and automation to increase efficiency and productivity. By embracing these technologies, businesses can streamline processes, enhance decision-making and adapt to evolving market demands. Industry executives believe adopting AI will increase efficiency and innovation while reducing risk. Further, 58% of executives believe generative AI will lead to employees experiencing a power shift in their favor, decreasing bias and increasing job satisfaction.

The findings from Mercer’s 2024 Global Talent Trends study highlight the importance of fostering human-centric productivity grounded in principles of trust and equity, boosting the corporate immune system, and nurturing a digital-first culture. These insights provide the foundation for organizations in the transportation and logistics sector to effectively confront talent challenges and forge a path toward enduring success.

Amid shifts propelled by geopolitical dynamics and technological advancements, the transportation and logistics industry stands at a pivotal juncture. Industry leaders must prioritize sustainability, employee well-being, and digital integration and cultivate a resilient organizational culture. Embracing these imperatives enables businesses to attract top-tier talent and lay the groundwork for sustained prosperity in the years ahead. The future vitality of the sector hinges upon the adaptability, innovation and positive impact demonstrated by those within it.

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