Jésica Civil, Director of mobility and logistics
It is beyond all doubt that logistics sector is an essential part of the services realm of the Catalan economy. This has been emphasised by the current situation and reality, where logistics has been fundamental in the operation of the countries affected by the pandemic. This has been possible because it is a sector with an enormous capacity for adaptation and evolution, despite the fact that stereotypes persist about it being an area of activity with a low level of professionalism.
Evident proof of the innovation and development capacities of the sector can be found in the latest Logistics Observatory, promoted by CIMALSA, together with the Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Generalitat of Catalonia. This Observatory has been identified 352 start-ups in Catalnia alone that already generated 4,300 jobs. The category with the highest number of start-ups is electronic commerce platforms (35%), within which online stores stand out. The second position is occupied by Smart Cities (7%) closely followed by Urban Planning (6%), the Last Mile (6%), and Business Software (6%) in that order.
However, it is curious to note that, despite taking these percentages into account, there is a strong imbalance between the training available and the new training needs generated by these new activities in the sector. In other words, the sector is moving rapidly in one direction and the training topics on offer neither reflect this new direction, nor are they adapting fast enough to be able to supply the trained personnel profiles that the market is demanding. By way of example, 35% of new start-ups are electronic commerce platforms and yet only 5% of the official courses on offer focus on electronic commerce.
Innovation without training will always be lame. This continues to be a burden for a sector which is increasingly required to respond to the needs of a society in continual transformation. The logistics sector has many challenges to meet, especially those involving the development of electronic commerce and distribution associated with efficiency and sustainability. Particularly relevant are the challenges of the last “mile” in large cities and the service on offer the citizens throughout the whole territory. The training on offer must be able to train personnel that can respond well to these challenges at all levels, from the most basic to the most highly specialised.
In contrast to countries where training is associated with the needs of economic development, in our country we have an innate tendency to demand solutions before putting the tools in place to empower people to solve challenges. Something similar happens in logistics. There is no longer any debate on economic or urban development that does not include its role in streamlining and improving the quality of service to, and quality of life for citizens. However, we seem unable to equip this vital sector of the economy with the necessary resources, in this case training resources, to enable it to meet demands we make of it.
In conclusion, this new logistics linked, economy is proving to be a motor for job creation and there is a real risk that the jobs marketplace will be found to be lacking if we are not able to adapt the training offer to the new reality. This is a challenge that we must not neglect.