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Logistics sub-sectors


Air freight

Air freight is the movement and supply of goods by air making up part of the international trade networks. The sub-sector is critical, as it accounts for a quarter of the value of all goods that are transported in the UK.

Growth in the air freight sub-sector has been weak largely because of high fuel prices. High fuel prices have made air freight expensive for many shippers. Although there are some concerns over the growth prospects of sub-sector, the long-term economic growth rate is currently 3%. The continuing globalisation of the sub-sector and expected operating cost reductions in the freighter fleet should help air freight traffic growth in the future.

Key statistics:

  • Air freight sub-sector in the UK transport sector less than 1% of all goods moved.
  • There are 137,800 people employed in air freight in around 2,400 workplaces.
  • Air freight traffic has been forecast to grow at an average annual rate of over 6% for the next two decades.
  • There are 2,400 air freight workplaces in the UK, employing a total of 137,800 people
  • This workforce is estimated to be 8% of the entire logistics sector workforce.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: air freight manager, air import operator, air export operator, air freight supervisor, freight forwarder, air hub manager

Entry requirements and qualifications vary depending on occupational role. For example for a Freight Forwarder, office experience, computer skills and foreign language skills can be required. Recognised qualifications from professional bodies, such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA) or the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK are also available. The following HND or degree subjects are likely to be an advantage: transport and distribution management; logistics; supply chain management; business and management; and foreign languages with business studies.

Investment in training within the air freight sub-sector has built up over many years and consequently the sub-sector does not experience problems with recruiting and skills gaps. This is partially due to the fact that air transport has been, and still is, a popular career choice.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Courier

Couriers, or dispatch riders, collect items, such as packages, documents and messages, and deliver them to customers. Normally couriers work in and around larger towns and cities, although there is work on cross-country deliveries. On a daily basis, couriers collect the schedule of pick-up points and delivery addresses from their depot. They plan routes and sort packages into order of dropping-off points. They need to find the quickest route to delivery addresses and sign for packages that they pick up. They also take signatures when delivering them. Couriers usually drive a van or ride a motorcycle, but in some larger cities cycle couriers are usual.

In recent years, there has been a general shortage, particularly of motorcycle couriers, in the South East and inner London. The sub-sector remains relatively stable and courier opportunities exist throughout the UK in most major cities. The West Midlands and the South East have the greatest number of couriers. There has been an increase in delivery opportunities recently, partly due to the growth of online shopping.

Key statistics:

  • There are 90,100 people working in the courier sub-sector, which equates to 5% of the logistics workforce in the UK.
  • There are around 10,800 workplaces across the UK in the sub-sector.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: courier, motorcycle courier, van driver

There are no formal requirements or qualifications required to become a courier, but employers tend to look for good English and maths skills. Candidates normally have to be over 17, although some employers may prefer candidates to be over 21years and 25 years for van drivers, as insurance premiums are cheaper. A basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance could be an advantage, and foreign language skills could be useful if your job involves overseas deliveries. LGV and Van drivers require the relevant licences.

Skills shortages within the courier sub-sector, includes: IT skills; knowledge of health and safety procedures; numeracy skills; customer care skills; and team working skills.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Freight forwarding

Freight forwarders organise the movement of goods around the UK and between countries. They use computer systems to plan the most efficient ways of transporting goods by road, rail, air and sea taking into consideration the following factors such as, the perishable or hazardous nature of the goods, cost, transit time and security. Due to the nature of the work, freight forwarders are often found working in teams consisting of clerks, warehouse staff and drivers.

Key facts:

  • Freight forwarding companies employ 138,200 people across the UK, which accounts for 8% of UK logistics employment.
  • There are 5,600 freight forwarding workplaces in the UK.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: freight forwarder, large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers, transport managers, distribution managers, van drivers, transport clerks, distribution clerks

Entry requirements and qualifications vary depending on occupational role. There are a range of sub-sector endorsed courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and foundation degrees, vocational qualifications, apprenticeships and training schemes available to those wishing to enter the sub-sector. Recognised qualifications from professional bodies, such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA) or the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport are also available. LGV and Van drivers require the relevant licences. Forklift Truck Drivers require specialist training.

The following HND or degree subjects are likely to be an advantage: transport and distribution management; logistics; supply chain management; business and management; and foreign languages with business studies.

With training and experience, freight forwarders can be promoted to supervisory or managerial roles. Individuals can also specialise in dealing with particular products or countries. In larger firms, opportunities to work overseas are becoming more frequent. It is also possible to move into more general sales or marketing roles.

15% of all freight forwarding businesses in England reported skill shortages. The most common skills gaps reported by freight forwarding employers are: technical, practical and job specific skills.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Postal services

The postal service sub-sector includes the transport and delivery of letters and parcels. It is the second largest sub-sector within the logistics sector. The Royal Mail, as the largest employer within the postal service sub-sector collects, processes and delivers around 84 million items to 27 million addresses. Additionally, it serves 28 million customers through its network of some 14,300 Post Offices.

Royal Mail is one of the UK’s biggest employers. At times there can be more applicants than vacancies, but staff turnover means that Royal Mail is always recruiting. There are opportunities throughout the country.

Key statistics:

  • There are 232,500 people working in the postal service sub-sector, which equates to 14% of the logistics workforce in the UK.
  • Of these 232,500 people, almost 193,000 work for the Royal Mail Group, which is almost 1% of the working population.
  • Postal service has 4,800 workplaces across the UK.
  • In England, 75% of the workforce is male.
  • 13% of the workforce is from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background in England.
  • For national postal activities, 8% of workforce is 16-24 years, 47% is 25-44 years and 45% is 45 years and over
  • The workforce has an older age profile compared to other sub-sectors in the sector.
  • 4% of workers in England are self employed in the sub-sector, but there are limited opportunities for self-employment.
  • The sub-sector appears to provide the greatest opportunity of part-time working; 18% of the sub-sector employees in England work part-time.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: mail sorter, postal delivery worker, delivery van drivers, fork lift truck operatives, couriers, LGV drivers

There are no formal entry requirements for postal delivery workers, but candidates normally need to be at least 18 years of age. There are no qualifications required to become a postal worker, but employers tend to look for good English and maths skills. Candidates normally have to be over 17, although some employers may prefer candidates to be over 21 years and 25 years for van drivers, as insurance premiums are cheaper. A basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance could be an advantage, and foreign language skills could be useful if your job involves overseas deliveries. LGV and van drivers require the relevant licences.

Skills shortages within the postal service sub-sector, includes: IT skills; knowledge of health and safety procedures; numeracy skills; customer care skills; and team working skills.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Road haulage

Road haulage is the distribution, movement and supply of goods by road. Road haulage, which includes removal services, is the third largest sub-sector in the logistics sector. The amount of freight that was moved in the UK increased by 46% between 1980 and 2007. The majority of the increase is due to goods being moved by road.

Key statistics:

  • 13% of the logistics sector workforce is within freight transport by road.
  • Road haulage now accounts for 68% of all goods moved compared with 53% in 1980.
  • A total of 220,000 people are employed in UK road haulage in the UK, which is estimated to be 13% of the entire logistics sector workforce.
  • There are 34,000 road haulage workplaces in the UK.
  • In England, 89% of the workforce is male.
  • 7% of workforce is 16-24 years, 15% 25-34 years, 28% 35-44 years, 27% 45-54 years and 22% is over 45 years.
  • 3% of the English workforce is from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.
  • Freight transport by road employs the smallest proportion of women and people with a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background than other logistics sub-sectors.
  • 9% of road haulage employees in England work part-time and 12% are self employed.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: LGV driver, LGV training instructor, distribution manager, removals worker, road transport manager, van driver, transport planner, transport scheduler, road haulage load planner, drivers mate, supply chain manager, operations manager, yard person, training manager, marketing co-ordinator, operations director, freight account manager, financial planning manager, general manager

Entry requirements and qualifications vary depending on occupational role. There are a range of sub-sector endorsed courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and foundation degrees, vocational qualifications, apprenticeships and training schemes available to those wishing to enter the sub-sector. LGV and Van drivers require the relevant licences. Forklift Truck Drivers require specialist training.

The following HND or degree subjects are likely to be an advantage: transport and distribution management; logistics; supply chain management; business and management; and foreign languages with business studies.

In 2007, 18% of road haulage companies in England had at least one vacancy and 13% of firms had skills gaps. The main causes of the skills gaps were lack of experience or the fact that candidates had been recently recruited and had not ‘got to grips’ with their job role.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Storage and warehousing

Warehouses operate by storing all sorts of products and then dispatching them to where they are needed. A variety of goods are stored in warehouses, including: chemicals; electrical goods; textiles; and foodstuffs. To manage goods safely warehouses may need to be kept at, for example, a certain temperature or have refrigerated areas to keep food frozen.

Technology has changed the way warehouses operate. It makes it possible for items to be assembled and delivered to a factory or store within hours. Some warehouses are so large that computer controlled cranes and lift trucks are used to move between the storage racks. IT skills are, therefore, becoming increasing important.

Key statistics:

  • A total of 190,600 people are employed in storage and warehousing in the UK, which is estimated to be 11% of the logistics sector workforce.
  • There are 5,600 storage and warehousing workplaces in the UK.
  • In England, the storage and warehousing sub-sector employs a greater proportion of younger people than in any other part of the logistics sector.
  • 78% of the workforce in England is male.
  • 16% of workforce is 16-24 years, 25% is 25-34 years, 25% is 35-44 years, 22% is 45-54 years and 13% is over 45 years.
  • 10% of the workforce in England is from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background
  • Self employment in this sub-sector is limited; only 1% of the workforce in England is self-employed.

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: warehouse assistant, warehouse manager, storekeeping, stores administration, forklift truck driver, warehouse team leader, order picker, stock controller

Entry requirements and qualifications vary depending on occupational role. There are no specific qualifications required for those wishing to work in warehousing, but a good level of English, mathematics and IT are advantageous. Forklift Truck Drivers require specialist training.

For those wishing to enter management, supervisory experience and relevant qualifications are usually required. The following HND or degree subjects are likely to be an advantage: transport and distribution management; logistics; supply chain management; business and management; and foreign languages with business studies.

For storage and warehouse managers, skills likely to be needed in the future are:

  • IT skills, covering a wide variety of aspects including inventory control, operations management and profitability;
  • better understanding of the supply chain and broader knowledge of the sub-sector;
  • people skills including the ability to motivate staff, manage change and deal with customers.

For warehouse assistants the following skills are likely to be required in the future: IT Skills, knowledge of health and safety procedures, numeracy skills and customer care skills. For stock control clerks it is envisaged that there will be a heavy emphasis on computer skills and system or supply chain knowledge.

Across the UK there are 77,300 storage and warehouse managers. Of these, 10% are female, 3% are under 25 years of age, 41% are over 45 years of age, 6% are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background and 38% are qualified below NVQ Level 2. 12% of warehouse assistants in the UK are female, 21% are under 25 years of age, 35% are over 45, 8% are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background and 63% are qualified below NVQ Level 2.

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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Wholesaling

The role of wholesaling is to supply goods to trade and business customers for whom dealing directly with suppliers is not feasible or practical. Wholesalers enable small traders to buy as much, or little, as their businesses need by buying in bulk and selling on by case loads. There are three main types of wholesale company:

  • Wholesale merchants – who buy and sell merchandise on their own account. They generally operate from warehouse or office locations and distribute from their warehoused stocks or arrange for the shipment of goods directly from the supplier to the client.
  • Wholesale agents, brokers and commission agents – who buy and sell merchandise owned by others on a fee or commission basis. They generally operate from an office location. This group includes business-to-business electronic markets that use the internet or electronic data exchange to facilitate wholesale trade.
  • Manufacturers’ sales branches and sales offices – which market and sell manufacturer’s products mainly to retailers and industrial users, usually coordinating distribution without handling stock themselves.

Key statistics:

  • There are approximately 700,100 people employed in the UK wholesale sub-sector, in 124,700 workplaces.
  • 41% of the logistics sector workforce is employed within the wholesale sub-sector.
  • Over 80% of wholesaling workplaces employ only 1 -10 people.
  • 23% of all wholesalers specialise in the sales of household goods.
  • 67% of the workforce is male.
  • Wholesale employs a much greater proportion of women than the other logistics sub-sectors.
  • A large proportion of the sub-sector workforce is self-employed (11%).
  • 10% of the workforce is aged 25 and under, whilst 41% are aged over 45 years.
  • 9% of the workforce in England has a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.
  • 14% of the workforce in England is part-time.
  • 19% of those in wholesaling has an NVQ level 4 or above qualification

Jobs in the sub-sector range from: sales manager, sales assistants, marketing manager, warehouse assistants, branch manager, van driver, forklift truck driver, LGV driver, buyer, stock control clerk, transport and distribution clerks, transport and distribution managers

Entry requirements and qualifications vary depending on occupational role. Recognised qualifications from professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) and Managing and Marketing Sales Association (MAMSA) are available to those who wish to enter sales and marketing. LGV and van drivers require the relevant licences. Forklift Truck Drivers require specialist training.

The following HND or degree subjects are likely to be an advantage: transport and distribution management; logistics; supply chain management; business and management; and foreign languages with business studies.

The wholesale sub-sector has fewer job vacancies than the logistics sector as a whole. 13% of wholesale employers have at least one vacancy, which compares to 16% of logistics employers.

23% of the wholesale workforce is employed as ‘marketing and sales managers,’ ‘retail and wholesale managers’ and ‘sales representatives.’

Source: Skills for Logistics AACS LMI report 2010

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