Companies must refocus on recruitment following recession, says FedEx HR manager

Companies looking to attract talent are having to refocus on attraction strategies paying attention to other issues during the recession, according to FedEx HR manager Steve Wilkins.

"Although many of the challenges are the same as those faced in 2007, there’s no doubt that employers are now going into a tougher recruitment market,” he said.

“Many companies lost focus on recruitment during the recession but now – with low unemployment and a skills shortage, people are going to have to update their strategies pretty quickly.”

FedEx is looking at innovate ways to attract candidates to logistics, a sector he admits isn’t always seen as fashionable. This involves highlighting ways logistics can make a difference.

“The sector drives the economy in a lot of ways, so pointing that out can be a good attraction tool,” he added. “Also things like the Panda Express in 2011, where we helped to transport the pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, are good ways to show people the industry can do more than it’s usually associated with.”

Another way companies will plug gaps in their workforce is to upskill existing employees, said Wilkins, although he accepts this is more difficult in sectors “with a wider range of skills.”

“We have a programme to train people in the operations teams to learn to drive large goods vehicles (LGVs),” he said. “Some have aspirations and we’ve noticed if we recruit from within the sector it’s hard to keep the age of our workforce down, so it makes sense for us.”