Transport and supply are the fastest growing sectors in the UK but wages lag behind

The boom in postal and courier services means that the number of business premises operated by transport companies has grown faster than any other sector, according to new government figures.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the transportation and logistics sectors have expanded much faster than other industries, including retail manufacturing and construction. More new transportation and supply chain business premises have opened up than any other industry.

The number of transport and logistics premises has increased by 88% since 2011 and 21% since 2019, despite the Brexit and Covid problems. Parcelhero, a home delivery expert, said the increase was due to increased online sales.

David Jinks MILT, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, said: “The growth of new premises, especially for postal and courier operators, has surpassed any other sector in any industry, even surpassing the growth of the overall logistics sector. The number of postal and courier depots and delivery centers (DCs) has increased by a staggering 147% since 2011, as coveted restrictions have increased the demand for home delivery.

‘The overall growth in the transport sector is much higher than in any other sector of British industry. Since 2019 construction premises have grown by only 5%, retail by 3% and manufacturing by 2%. This is a good indication of how these sectors fought Covid and Brexit.

In contrast, postal and courier business premises have grown particularly fast. The UK had 17,175 postal and courier depots and warehouses in 2011, but by 2019 it had grown to 26,100. By 2021 there were 42,500 in operation, most of the new premises being opened in the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’, an area of ​​the West Midlands centered around Lutherworth.

‘However, although transport and logistics are now the largest industry in the Midlands, East of England and Yorkshire and The Humber, at least in terms of business unit share, that increase is not reflected in wage rates. .

‘Hourly earnings in transportation and storage were lower than the national average in 2021 (£ 14.76 compared to £ 15.65). Full-time workers in the transportation and storage industries, such as couriers, HGV drivers, and warehouse workers, work about 42 hours a typical week. The average across all industries is about 39 hours.

‘Transportation and storage workers were more likely to work overtime than in other industries (32%), with those who work overtime recording an average of about eight extra hours per week.

One reason why ‘average transportation and warehousing jobs’ is not consistent with pay sector growth is that the number of new warehouses and DC construction has created less new jobs than expected. Although the number of business premises has almost doubled in the last 10 years, employment in transport and warehousing in December 2021 was only 20% higher than in December 2011.

This is because warehouses are increasingly using automated and many advanced technologies, such as voice picking and sophisticated warehouse management systems (WMS), to speed up operations and reduce the need for manual operations.

It is encouraging that transportation and logistics operations have increased in recent years, despite problems caused by Brexit, Covid and the global supply chain. We are pleased to see parcel and courier businesses move forward. However, it is fair to say that many transportation and courier companies operate at relatively low margins, so an increase in premises may not result in a similar increase in profits.

‘Nevertheless, it would be good for wages in this sector to be at least equal to the national average, reflecting how hard warehouse workers, drivers, etc. worked during the epidemic to turn the wheel of UK PLC.

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