The Condition of the Labour Market in the E-Commerce Sector
Despite progressive automation of logistics processes and development of state-of-the-art systems that handle thepicking, sorting and dispatching of goods to end-customers, many processes will still require manual handling. Therefore, tenants make every effort to attract and above all retain as many employees as possible in their locations. Experts of the global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield predict that in connection with the robust growth of the e-commerce market, the demand for warehouse employees will continue to rise. These employees are mainly responsible for the flow of goods within the warehouseprocesses, picking orders as well as for the supervision of the entire delivery process and, above all, for thereturns management. The most recent report ‘How to get the hang of e-commerce in warehouses’ sheds the light on the situation of employees handling the e-commerce market in Poland’s warehouses.
E-commerce is one of the fastest growing distribution channels in Poland. Online shopping has grown to be very popular among domestic consumers who are more and more willing to visit online shops and make purchases via mobile applications. Given the growing pressure to cut down delivery times, companies operating in this dynamically growing sector must take care of both selecting properly equipped warehouse space and sufficient human resources, the key factors in the process of upgrading the quality of service provided.
The processes of inbound, packaging or reverse logistics are largely handled manually. Since these are the factors that permit gaining a competitive edge in the market, the requirements which the CEP companies and operators providing the so-called fulfilment services are increasing. Personalized shipments and greater attention paid to their aesthetic standard require human work that cannot be replaced with a machine, no matter how fast it operates.
High demand for employees is also vital during pre-Christmas season and during sales peaks, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
‘Cost of labour and availability of qualified employees, constantly upgraded and developed transportation and warehousing infrastructure are the factors that to the greatest extent contribute to making our country the attractive location of manufacturing plants and warehouses. Despite the present problems with human resources availability, Poland remains highly attractive as compared to the Western markets. The Polish labour market is still one of the most attractive in Europe, especially if we compare hourly labour rates in our country with Germany or Denmark, where these rates are three and four times higher, respectively. This is the reason why e-commerce business is being relocated to Poland’ – said Damian Kołata, Associate, Industrial and Logistics Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.
Great majority of logistics parks tenantsand companies operating in the e-commerce sector employ more than 500 people. Furthermore, according to respondents, this number will grow in the coming years. As many as 73% property developers and 100% of logistics operators say that the number of employees is bound to increase in the coming years. Only 27% of property developers believe that the number of employees will go down.
Given intense competition in the e-commerce sector, employers are offering encouragements to prospective warehouse employees by introducing variouspreks and benefits. These include: sports card, private medical and physiotherapeutic care, insurance, as well as various vouchers and gifts which the employee is eligible to receive right from the first day in office. Meticulous work organisation and regular trainings are also vital. Tenants pay much attention to adapting the building space to employees’ needs, which is quite often done by creating attractive common and rest areas. In addition, most employees are offered free commuting to and from work.
‘The decision to choose a location for an e-commerce warehouse is of strategic nature and is particularly sensitive to two factors, i.e. feasibility of efficient distribution to cut leadtime as much as possible and human resources availability. Therefore, perfect road infrastructure and the capacity to have staff capable of meeting the challenges related to fluctuations in demand and sales peaks is of extreme importance. The choice of location is a kind of compromise for the latter aspect and investments tend to be located in regions with better labour force accessibility, such as Western Poland or North-Eastern Poland’ says Joanna Sinkiewicz, Partner, Head of the Industrial and Logistics Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.
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