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Regional Focus

Logistics in the North West

While many organisations are still feeling economic pressure and trading instability, the initial outlook for logistics in the North West is positive for 2011. Previously recruitment dominant sectors such as automotive and general manufacturing are still facing some pressure, however we have certainly seen good levels of staff demand over the later parts of 2010 and early in 2011 within the retail sector.

We have also seen a number of businesses relocate or expand into the North West, and the regeneration incentives in Cheshire, North Wales and North Manchester are certainly working. In more recent cases, clients are simply seeing the practical benefits that the North West can offer, such as motorway access and proximity to some of their larger customers.

From the many conversations we have with our clients and candidates, logistics departments are clearly still under pressure to deliver better results, quicker and cheaper. They therefore try to remain as lean as possible, often only recruiting replacements for leavers when absolutely necessary. On the flipside, we have seen more businesses undertaking general reviews of their supply chain structure and looking to strengthen middle management following resource reduction over the previous two years.

Skills in demand

Those with SAP experience are highly sought after by our retail clients - particularly on the implementation and training side - as businesses strive to improve systems and achieve greater inventory visibility. As retailers continue to drive their online sales strategies, we are seeing more requests for those with experience of e-fulfilment. These employers are keen to find candidates who understand the processes and pressures that surround this specialist area.

Logistics professionals that can show career progression within large retail distribution businesses or the FMCG sector also remain highly sought after across the region. 

Salaries

Salaries remained generally static during 2010 but we are now definitely starting to see competition for staff return and a decrease in the number of organisations that hope to recruit below the market rate.

Looking ahead

Over the next few months we expect the large retailers, FMCG businesses and 3PLs to continue to grow. There will also always be opportunities within smaller organisations for people with the right skills and experience.

Some businesses are still feeling the effects of a tough pre-Christmas weather-affected trading period, and of course the recent VAT hike. However, we believe there will continue to be opportunities for logistics expertise as businesses seek to drive costs down in a price-sensitive market, improve efficiencies and strengthen resources.

For more information on the logistics recruitment market in the North West, get in touch with our Manchester office on 0161 228 6422 or view the latest logistics vacancies.