What does the future hold for employment in the logistics industry? If you look at the BLS statistics for this field, the future doesn’t look very bright for logistics professionals. Although at $74,260 median salaries are comparatively high, a slowing demand may affect employment. The predicted growth rate for jobs in logistics is only two percent, but this bleak outlook is true only if the industry remains static.
A Changing Industry
Part of what is going on within the logistics field has to do with the cost of fuel. Globalization of industry has brought about increases in export and import of parts and resources. However ships, trains, air transport and trucking all require fossil fuels. Fuel prices are volatile, and that means higher freight rates. Logisticians or “freight forwarders” have to work harder to keep profits steady. In response to these factors, the industry could be moving back to regional supply sources according to Supply Chain 247. In fact, the whole industry is changing and logisticians who don’t change with it may be left behind.
Technology Changing Logistics
Emerging technology is set to mold an entirely new face to the field of logistics. One of the promising developments is 3-D printing. Scientists have been playing with the concept for years, but it is now a reality with many implications. Nearly 20 percent of manufacturers are already using the procedure to replicate parts and to reproduce their products with materials like metals and composites as well as plastics. Of those 20 percent, though, less than two present have employees with expertise in 3-D printing. In addition, a large percentage of corporations plan to use the technology in the future and would like to employ people with skills in the technology. Another new technology cited by the website Cerasis.com is the “Internet of Things.” This is the development that allows machines and devices to communicate with each other without the need for a human operator. That translates into faster freight transport and less waste. Those factors mean that costs could decrease.
Drone delivery is a factor in the changing face of logistics too. It is already employed on a limited basis by Amazon. A survey of manufacturers showed that 27 percent believe that drone delivery is the future of logistics. There are limitations to the technology such as the size of cargo and governmental regulations that may mean drone delivery will be limited to special uses such as delivering medications to areas difficult to reach with other modes of transportation. Another new technology is the driverless vehicle. Google has made a self-driving car and Uber is experimenting with the vehicles in its corporation. The technology is new, though, and currently, requires a passive driver-passenger in attendance. Still, 42 percent of interviewed corporate heads expressed an interest in the vehicles and said they would like to hire someone with knowledge in the area.
The outlook for freight forwarding in its present form may not be promising, but the future for a streamlined and technology-rich field is bright. College courses may have to stress computer programming and schools may have to look at new curriculum to prepare logisticians for careers in the altered profession. With so many companies saying they want to hire people with expertise in new technologies, the employment for the new logistics industry is good.