WAREHOUSE OPERATIVES CRISIS: Doncaster bears the brunt of skill shortage

Doncaster is one of the worst hit areas for skills shortages in the transport and logistics industry, new research has shown.

Friday, 4th March 2022, 9:57 am

The continued e-commerce boom, and a reduction in EU labour availability, has left many firms struggling to find enough warehouse operatives to fulfill high order volumes – but analysis by Mintsoft shows that some regions are faring worse than others.

According to the research, London tops the list for the highest number of unfilled vacancies at 233, according to live jobs board data compiled on 21 February.

Next was Bristol with 219 roles available, followed by Birmingham (188) and Northampton (146). Doncaster came in 14th with 77 positions.

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Competition for skills is particularly acute in Doncaster

Commenting on the findings, Rob Hodgson, WMS and E-commerce Fulfillment Expert at Mintsoft, said: “Anyone who works in the industry knows how difficult it’s become to recruit operatives but our data sheds light on the regional discrepancies. Competition for skills is particularly acute in Doncaster, making it difficult for businesses to meet demand and protect margins.

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“The pandemic has changed consumer buying behaviour forever, which will continue to drive demand in the e-commerce and 3PL sector. While this is clearly good news, it puts immense pressure on businesses, especially SMEs, to deliver – at a time when increasing a headcount isn’t an option.

“3PLs recognise this and are increasingly investing in their warehouse operations in order to make better use of their existing resources.”

The 20 locations with the biggest shortage of warehouse operatives were as follows:

Clare Bottle, CEO at the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA), added: “Today’s market is tougher than ever before for the warehousing sector. Labour shortages are no longer limited to the Christmas peak trading period nor are they restricted to warehousing’s famous ‘Golden Triangle’ in the East Midlands.

“In light of the failure of Government to recognise or even mention the role of warehousing and logistics in last month’s Levelling Up white paper, this research is particularly timely, providing an important evidential basis for UKWA’s continued representation to policymakers for more support in the face of critical labour shortages.

“Indeed, a recent poll of our members confirmed that labour shortages are the number one concern for 2022 and our National Conference next week (March 8-9th), will focus on the theme of Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.