QBE Asia, a prominent general insurance and reinsurance company, has joined forces with Oxford Economics, a leading independent economic advisory firm, to unveil an industry report titled “Building Workforce Resilience in the Transportation and Logistics Sector.” The report explores the current labor market dynamics and challenges within these sectors, focusing on businesses investing or operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau. Importantly, the report offers valuable insights into how transport and logistics companies can address current talent and workforce shortages while effectively planning for future manpower and leadership needs.
Key Highlights from the Report:
1. Employment in the Transportation and Logistics Sector:
- Across the five economies under scrutiny, the transport and logistics sector directly employs just under 3 million individuals.
- The sector’s contribution to total employment varies between 3.2% (Macau) and 6.8% (Singapore).
2. Impact of COVID-19:
- The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health restrictions had adverse effects on employment in transport and logistics in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- Malaysia, however, stood out as the only examined country where transport and logistics employment remained resilient during the pandemic.
3. Recovery and Challenges:
- Following the pandemic, the transport and logistics sectors in Singapore and Malaysia experienced robust recoveries in employment, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by early 2023.
- Conversely, Macau and Hong Kong’s transport sectors endured significant setbacks due to prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns, with employment levels yet to fully rebound.
4. Persistent Vacancies:
- The post-pandemic recovery coincided with increased difficulties for employers in finding suitable personnel, resulting in a surge in job vacancies.
- Vacancies have generally failed to return to pre-pandemic levels, presenting an ongoing challenge.
5. Long-term Prospects:
- In both the short and long run, employment prospects in the transport and logistics sector across the region appear promising.
6. Labor Market Challenges in Malaysia and Singapore:
- Malaysia and Singapore share common challenges, including a noticeable gap in labor availability for both skilled and unskilled positions in the transport and logistics sectors.
- These jurisdictions also face higher labor costs compared to Vietnam.
7. Vietnam’s Unique Position:
- Vietnam presents a distinct labor market landscape where manual labor availability is unlikely to be a concern.
- However, companies have encountered difficulties in filling technical and management roles.
8. Challenges in Hong Kong and Macau:
- Hong Kong and Macau face substantial labor shortages across both low-end and skilled positions, partly attributed to post-COVID demand surges.
- Both cities are actively seeking foreign workers to address these shortages, though success rates are anticipated to vary.
The “Building Workforce Resilience in the Transportation and Logistics Sector” report serves as a valuable resource for businesses and policymakers in the region, offering insights and recommendations to navigate the evolving labor market challenges within the transport and logistics industry. It underscores the need for proactive measures to address workforce shortages and foster resilience in these critical sectors.