An alternative solution for talent shortages in logistics

Ongoing talent shortages and the threat of the Great Resignation continue to impact Australian organisations’ ability to meet targets. But many are managing these issues with the addition of contractors and temporary staff, especially over the holiday period.

As a specialist recruitment consultant working with logistics, manufacturing, and supply chain organisations, I am seeing more companies incorporating contractors in their People strategies to address talent shortages, manage projects, and avoid downtime.

Traditionally, contractors have been used to cover leave, such as parental or long-service leave, but now contracting is being used as an alternative resourcing solution, especially where teams are already overloaded and stretched in bandwidth. Contractors are being increasingly employed for functional, project-based requirements.

Why the shift to contractors?

The recent uptick in contract recruitment within manufacturing, supply chain and logistics is driven by three factors:

1. The pandemic led to a massive, 57% year-on-year growth in ecommerce in Australia, with subsequent demand spikes for logistics and supply chain talent.

2. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19, caused many CEOs to react with headcount freezes. Hiring contractors was a way for many managers to ensure business continuity in the short term without hiring permanent employees.

3. Across every sector, contract roles have grown in popularity as businesses opt to stay flexible and agile in their hiring strategies to be responsive to changing needs. According to PMI, an estimated 25 million project managers will be required globally by 2030.

Contracting is no longer just jobs for juniors

While contracting has historically been used to fill high-volume junior positions, many organisations are hiring mid to senior-level contractors for high-impact and high-responsibility project-based roles. We’re talking about very senior, experienced professionals who have left permanent roles to become contractors.

There’s a clear trend where people are becoming contractors to access a wider job market, gain more autonomy, earn better pay, and stay challenged as they move in and out of different organisations.

Here are some of the ways Six Degrees Executive’s clients are using contractors:

  • Bringing in Project Managers to help with a system implementation change.

  • Hiring an Instructional Designer to help review and overhaul standard operating procedures to increase onboarding capability.

  • Engaging a Senior Production Leader to look after a site while the incumbent was sick.

  • To act as a consultant for a Technical Maintenance and Reliability team to clear through a backlog of analytical activity due to the team being short-staffed.

  • Hiring contractors to avoid shutdowns over the Christmas season while full-timers are on leave.

I’d encourage hiring managers in logistics, manufacturing, and supply chain to consider contractors for every unfilled role at every level of the business, including mid- to high-level roles. But as usual, the problem lies with having access to a big-enough talent pool, which is suffering now due to the impacts of COVID.

Reaching out to a recruitment agency that has specialist contracting recruiters is the fastest and often most cost-effective way to gain access to high-quality, senior contracting talent.

Speak to a specialist in our consulting team or send us an online enquiry to help us find the right contracting talent for your team today.