Recruiting and retaining project logistics talent is, at present, near impossible. Jason Dickens, consultant at dedicated project forwarding recruiter Rockbottom Consulting, shed some light on the current situation.

“Within the last 18 months we have seen a considerable increase in the demand for talent, largely due to the increase in rates and carrier capacity,” he said. “The C-level has remained relatively stable and consistent, whereas we have seen a real spike for operational/desk level talent. The demand at this level has never been so high; however, in most global locations securing experienced operational talent is extremely difficult, sorry strike that, near impossible right now.”

He added: “With it so difficult to find and secure experienced operators the answer is clear: we need to bring new talent into our industry. This is a must, and we need to do more collectively for the sake of the future of the sector.”

For those already in the industry, the benefits are clear: it is an exciting industry with lots to offer. As Dickens noted: “It is a challenging, rewarding environment where no two days are the same, the learning curve available is steep and there is also a strong attitude to welcoming new talent into the sector.”

So how can the sector attract talent? Dickens believes that, as a collective, it needs to engage talent at an entry level “whether this be through press, advertising, universities, schools or word of mouth”.

“Partnering with global universities who offer programmes closely linked to the heavy lift industry is the way forward, coupled with the ability to outline to young people their career path/journey within our industry. We must accept that talent coming into the sector will want to understand what is in it for them and what is the maximum to be achieved; this mentality should be embraced and nurtured.”

One such programme has been a project logistics course – led by Marco Poisler, chief operating officer, global energy and capital projects at UTC Overseas – at the University of Houston. It has been running for the past two years but has now been officially incorporated in the university’s catalogue as part of the supply chain and logistics technology programme.

Training with the Rockbottom Project Logistics Academy

Rockbottom Consulting is also acting in its efforts to help the sector find and train talent and is launching a new business called Rockbottom Project Logistics Academy. “We have recognised that we need to support our customers globally in attracting and nurturing entry level talent,” said Dickens.

“The goal is to identify, train, support and present volume entry-level candidates to help solve the global talent shortages we are all experiencing. We will engage with individuals through strategic global university partnerships in Europe, the USA, India and Asia, while also remaining true to our recruitment roots, by proactively seeking out young professional across rival industries.

“The talent we attract will be exposed to top training and testing facilities before being presented to, and engaged by, our client base. We will also support and guide our academy members through their early project logistics careers, offering further opportunities for training and personal development.”

Rockbottom Project Logistics Academy has already signed up three project forwarders who agree with and embrace the initiative, and a website is currently under construction.