Do We Need to be Bolder in Order to Address the People Challenges Facing the Transport Industry?

December 2022

The global transportation sector is experiencing extraordinary people challenges:

  • The cost-of-living crisis raises questions as to how to deploy people in the most efficient way
  • Digitalisation further prompts a review of industry roles and asks how we can upskill the workforce
  • A dynamic recruitment market requires organisations to drive employee engagement and retain talent, whilst remaining innovative enough to attract a diverse workforce
  • Research from the UK National Skills Academy Rail (NSAR)* highlights that the British rail sector is currently experiencing an unusually high attrition rate of between 10 and 15% (compared to a ‘usual’ attrition rate of 5 to 8%)
  • The Australasian Railway Association (ARA)** also identified that the industry faces a skill shortage and urgently needs to attract a new and vibrant workforce, whilst competing with other industries seeking similar talent.

Amidst this challenging and ever-changing landscape, do we need to be bolder in our approach to addressing the people challenges? Our industry demands a modern, cost-effective and flexible workforce. Against a backdrop of industrial disputes in the UK, addressing the people challenges is complex. Transport organisations need to improve their people strategy and find optimal solutions, ensuring that the organisational structure is cost effective and supports the future strategy of the business.

Candidate attraction solutions are going to be vital if the sector is to attract the future  talent needed, as well as the need to drive positive change through identifying initiatives to  celebrate diversity and inclusion. Resourcing processes need to be exceptional and candidate-led to ensure that we are able to attract and retain high calibre and diverse talent.

A focus on employee engagement shouldn’t be lost when there is so much going on. In fact, engagement needs to be a higher priority in order to ensure that we are able to bring people with us through change. In addition, engaging learning and development solutions are required to address the demands created through digitalisation and recent technologies that foster new jobs and higher skills requirements. Leading through change and challenging times can be tough at all levels, and coaching will be more important than ever to support individuals across the business and to enable leaders to achieve their goals.

With over 15 years’ experience and decades of collective frontline and operational management experience within the transport sector, North Star’s transport specialists are ideally placed to support the industry in these challenging times. Working collaboratively, our transformation and organisational change consultants develop an effective target culture and operating model, develop training solutions, support engagement strategy and provide coaching. Our consultants have supported large organisations in franchise bidding, undertaken evaluations on behalf of the Department for Transport, led the TUPE transfer of Southeastern to DfT OLR Holdings Limited and advised on people issues for Scottish Rail Holdings. Our international expertise enables us to bring best practice to a project and provide trusted global experience.

*NSAR Data Update – Latest Data and People Pipeline October 2022

**ARA – Building Australian Rail Skills for the Future March 2022