3 Ways Logistics Leaders Can Keep Up While Gen Z Forces Workforce Change

Creating agile staffing strategies that adapt to seasonal highs and lows can help address burnout and attract all workers, including Gen Z and Millennial workers.

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As younger generations continue to enter the workforce in droves, statistical estimates show that by 2025, Gen Z and Millennials will become 27% and 75% of the workforce, respectively. Industries with a generational divide are being forced to adapt to a shifting work landscape and meet new worker demands and expectations.

A recent survey found that 81% of warehouses want to fill open positions within the next year with warehouse workers (61%), transportation and logistics managers (45%), and warehouse managers and supervisors (42%). While older generations are eager to go back to pre-pandemic “business as usual,” Millennials and Gen Z are searching for jobs that offer purpose and flexible schedules. These workforce changes challenge the logistics industry to rethink how to approach their labor force.

Here's three ways the logistics industry can adapt to the changing workforce to meet the current needs of Gen Z workers.

Accommodate worker needs and flexibility

As the logistics industry continues to grow, employers need to tap into Gen Z and Millennial workers to meet soaring demands. Attracting these workers will take more than impressive wages as 60% of Gen Z workers say they would accept a 10% lower starting salary in return for a better benefits package. Offering hybrid work schedules, more time off and improved scheduling opportunities are three simple ways that logistics managers can provide more flexibility to attract and retain younger workers.

The pandemic proved to employers that workers can still be productive despite having an unconventional schedule and this is a perk that workers are now unwilling to give up. A Mercer survey reports that 87% of employers planned to embrace flexibility after the pandemic, with some logistics companies looking to implement midweek schedules, weekend shifts and 4-hour shifts to promote productivity while allowing for improved flexibility benefits for their workers.

Failing to keep up with changing workplace demands can cause companies to lose valuable young talent to more accommodating companies or industries. Logistics employers can find success in recruiting workers when they provide flexibility, adaptability and creativity. 

Provide learning resources

A 2020 World Economic Forum report says that approximately 40% of workers will require reskilling for six months or less. Additionally, 94% of business leaders expect their employees to pick up new skills on the job, up from 65% in 2018, proving a growing need for upskilling and workforce training to help employees move laterally or promotionally within a company. Manpower Group data also highlights that 93% of Millennial workers see skills development as an important part of their future. Logistics companies can consider offering upskilling resources as a benefit to attract younger workers, while helping them succeed in their current and future roles. 

Not only will offering these opportunities attract workers but it will also help encourage them to stay. Younger generations are more likely to stay at their current job because of upskilling or reskilling opportunities, compared to other generations. Providing online resources, in-person training opportunities and various certification classes can help teach workers key skills and tools for career longevity and success within the company, industry and beyond. 

Moreover, because younger generations grew up as digital natives, applying more technologically advanced ways to streamline learning processes can be paramount when attracting new workers. For example, using wearable technology devices and implementing gamification techniques can make skills training more fun, interesting and easily applicable to future tasks. 

Reconsider benefits for the frontline labor force 

Between the global pandemic, the ongoing labor shortage and the Great Resignation, workers are demanding new conditions and benefits. While engagement and benefits are key to worker and company success, research shows 63% of employees still don’t feel appreciated and 38% of workers say they have experienced higher stress levels since the pandemic. Companies need to understand and address these challenges – offering better benefits like mental health days and recognition programs can show workers they are valued and in turn, improve productivity.

While these considerations have been brought to the corporate workforce and have been readily implemented, frontline workers have yet to see or experience the same benefit. Logistics companies also need to adapt their business models to meet worker needs. Creating agile staffing strategies that adapt to seasonal highs and lows can help address burnout and attract all workers, including Gen Z and Millennial workers.

As the workforce continues to face new demands and challenges due to the current economy, industries must adapt in order to stay relevant and attract workers from different age groups. The logistics industry must be prepared to go against the status quo to offer flexibility and upskilling opportunities, while reconsidering benefits to strengthen hiring and retention and ultimately improve overall business success.