Supply chain pressures caused by the pandemic pressed the warehousing and logistics industry to find better ways to work. A focus on Australian-made products pushed manufacturing to break new ground, which propelled careers forward. In the war for talent, not all employers can offer the highest salaries, but combining other value propositions could draw candidates to pursue careers in these industries.
Staff shortages cause familiar groans across all industries in the current market. Job seekers are being choosier about where they work. Employers are the sellers, competing to present the best offers.
We can’t get away from evidence that pay is the number one reason workers seek new jobs. However, research shows that today’s employees, especially Gen Z and Millennials, are looking for something more than what they pocket on payday. Work spaces, career growth opportunity and ways of working are a few drawcards.
Warehousing, manufacturing and logistics organisations have the potential to offer valuable propositions that target what matters most to job candidates.
In this article we draw on two recent Australian studies that highlight the way forward for attracting workers when pay alone cannot compete.
Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), titled ‘The Future of Work’, explored which employer propositions mean the most to Australian workers. Worker priorities surprised some employers, and the survey confirmed that the entire package matters, not just salaries. The study emphasised focus of resources on the right propositions to attract and retain staff.
Seven levers were identified to help employers draft an effective job proposition and drive positive change in the workplace. In order of worker priority, they are:
Remuneration and reward
Ways of Working
Workspaces and places
We take a closer look at how these levers could create winning propositions for warehousing, manufacturing, and logistics.
Every worker wants to know they’re being paid well for what they’re contributing, but in a candidate’s market, workers are looking for their best offer.
If you can’t match competitor salaries, how can you strengthen your reward proposition?
Even without offering the highest pay, you can weave attractive reward factors into your offer.
Be smarter about benefits packages
Include sought-after benefits like bonuses or packaged subsidies that impact lifestyle, for example, childcare services, phones or cars. Retirement and financial security are top-of-mind as costs of living rise, so pay attention to your superannuation offer—the percentage contribution, the scheme supplier and insurances beyond the standard ones.
‘Another common misunderstanding regarding remuneration from an employee’s perspective is the true financial value of their benefits package.'
Excerpt from ‘The Future of Work’, PwC
The PwC study suggests employers consider how to communicate the complete value of their benefits package effectively.
Reduce the gender pay gap
It still exists. Tackling this discrepancy is a good starting point for attracting a more diverse workforce, which is needed in these industries.
Australian workers want to know they’re valued and supported at work. Changes during the pandemic caused employee wellbeing to decline, and many workers reconsidered what they wanted from their jobs. In this post-COVID era, work-life balance and wellness are increasingly important.
How can you strengthen your wellbeing proposition?
Workers should not feel like a number
Social connection, good relationships with co-workers, and discussion forums add to employee wellbeing and are attractive in a workplace. Skilled leaders make people feel valued by connecting their roles to company goals and strategies to create a meaningful work experience.
Provide mental health support
Show job candidates what resources you’ve invested in mental health education and initiatives. Include policies and practices that support employee wellbeing and work-family-life integration. Confidential counselling or support services are attractive, as an employer may be a worker’s best resource for mental health support.
Don’t underestimate how highly Australians rate a workplace culture of diversity and inclusion. Gaps in diversity for these industries are most noticeable in age and gender.
The concern of an ageing workforce was confirmed in a 2021 government survey by AMGC (Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Ltd) which shed light on current perceptions of the manufacturing industry. It found that older Australians valued manufacturing more than the younger generation.
Similar conclusions were made in a 2021 study commissioned by Deakin University on the challenges to the supply chain and logistics workforce. Rather than fresh talent moving up the ranks, workers tend to be ‘poached’ and circulate within the industry based on wage offers.
How can you strengthen your proposition of a positive employee experience?
Be visible where young people are looking
‘… as one of the few young, female CEOs in the electronics manufacturing industry, my view is we need to make manufacturing more exciting for young people and we need to go to where the young people are—to Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.'
Share positive workplace stories
AMGC highlighted personal connections as powerful channels for creating awareness of the scope of manufacturing opportunities. Encourage existing employees and leaders to tell stories of their positive work experiences to friends and family.
Negative perceptions of work in warehousing and logistics traditionally made it unattractive as an industry. Supply chains gained the spotlight through the COVID pandemic and created increased awareness of their role, but more work is needed to shift perceptions.
In general, Australians have faith in Australian-made products, and think its future is bright, but more awareness of developments in the analytics and tech fields is needed.
How can you strengthen your ‘ways of working’ proposition?
Talk up your technology
Advances in these industries create great potential for nurturing a fresh perspective.
‘… emerging technologies including automation, advanced analytics, sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the face of supply chain operations, making them faster, safer and more efficient..'
‘… As companies move their processes to digital, they routinely gather and share enormous amounts of data, and supply chains will evolve to be as much about the flow of information as they are about the flow of goods and services.’
Excerpts from ‘A view from the top: current workforce challenges in supply chain and logistics’, Deakin University
Showcase how you’ve automated systems and moved into the digital age. Explain how ongoing changes make the work dynamic and progressive.
Add flexibility by adding choice
Flexible working is a sweetener in the current job market. While the flexibility of location remains tricky in these industries, consider other forms it can take. For example, allow roster scheduling to be more flexible around childcare or family issues. Consider giving more choices around:
how work is done
when workers take their breaks
Recently, at its Melbourne production facility, caravan manufacturer Jayco created shifts that fit around children's routines. The innovation was so successful it created 110 new positions based on shifts of four or five school hours, or at night when children have gone to bed.
Overall, confidence in Australian manufacturing is growing, but more awareness is needed of the dynamic and varied career pathway it can offer.
Why? According to the AMGC study, manufacturing is perceived by many as building and assembly only, which is associated with low-skilled, low-paying jobs. Australians were less aware of design and engineering components, featuring higher-paying jobs. These skilled roles hold promise of career progression, and appeal to young people and women—groups that the industry needs to attract to improve diversity.
How can you strengthen your career development proposition?
Exciting career opportunities is one of the strongest propositions that the warehousing, manufacturing and logistics industries have to attract talent.
Outline career progressions
Now is the time to break the mindset of career limitations in warehousing and manufacturing. In your job offers, outline opportunities for growth and promotion. Boost your industry’s attraction by showing innovation that leads to highly skilled roles, for example, in the skill gaps of IT, cybersecurity and data analytics.
Make on-the-job learning opportunities visible
Highlight access to mentoring, apprenticeships or upskilling for promotion.
Brand is linked to what an organisation stands for. Gen Z and Millennials care about company values and how companies demonstrate social and ethical responsibility. Today’s job seekers want to work for an organisation whose values align with their own.
How can you use your brand as a value proposition?
Promote your company values
‘Organisations must ensure employees know what the organisation stands for, what is its vision, its values and its purpose. Managers should find ways to connect the employees' work to the greater purpose of the organisation.'
Sue Jennings, Associate Director of Learning and Development at Gilead Sciences
Be prepared for questions on social and ethical responsibility
Candidates will weigh up answers to questions like:
What is your corporate social responsibility commitment?
Do you use sustainable environmental practices?
Can interested employees 'give back' or volunteer to support local charities?
Unlike careers in finance or marketing which boast luxury offices in city centres, the remote locations of distribution centres mean warehousing careers rarely feature in a Millennial’s top five jobs.
How can you strengthen your workspace proposition?
Fill workspaces with perks
While remote work is seldom feasible for floor workers in these industries, consider what perks you can include in the workspace, for example, subsidised food, free coffee or comfortable break areas.
Create trendy hubs
Where roles don’t require in-person attendance at a distribution centre or workshop, consider creating office hubs in less remote locations. For example, could the IT hub or human resources hub be in a trendier area?
The Deakin study provided a successful example:
“We had offices in the northwest which is not exactly tech central ... it’s been incredibly difficult for us to attract people with the tech and analytics skills we need. We created a digital tech section of our business and located it in ___ which is sort of a techie central, and we found it much easier to get the skill sets we need."
Candidates in the current job market want more than just a good wage. A well-rounded value proposition is more likely to position you as an employer of choice. By developing an offer that considers aspects like workplace culture and values, employee experiences and opportunities for growth, you can attract top talent despite not offering the highest pay.
Make sure your offers are reaching the job candidates you need. MTC Recruitment can help you identify your organisation’s most attractive benefits. With recruitment campaigns advertised across of variety of platforms, we gain wide reach.
Contact us to match prime job candidates to roles you need filled, with offers they can't refuse.