The rapid growth of the logistics and trade industry has made developing and retaining the sector’s talent pool key to continued success. Now, as artificial intelligence, remote and hybrid schedules and e-commerce lead a changing dynamic, the focus must center on strategic decisions, experts shared at a meeting hosted by FIU Business.
The Trade and Logistics Industry Committee of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s economic development organization, held its second quarterly event at FIU’s Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in February 2023. Greg Maloney, director of the MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program at FIU Business, moderated the event’s keynote panel, which examined the Next Generation of Workforce Readiness.
A panel of hiring experts shared their insights:
- Bobbie Gonzalez, Workforce Consultant, ADP
- Marta E. Ramirez, Chief People Officer, PayCargo LLC
- Patricia Thomas, Human Resources Manager, PortMiami
- Victoria Miguel, Regional Talent Acquisition Manager, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics
- Chelsie Taveras, Global Trade Operations and Compliance Director, Cargill
One area where the panelists concurred was the importance of companies’ brand recognition. Recruiters must ensure the brand is properly represented when connecting with students and that these understand who the brand is, they said.
“Visibility is key because more people will know about you,” said Thomas. “We’re at the point where we’re looking for people that are assets to our companies and job seekers are looking for companies to be an asset for them.”
What skillsets should students be working on?
“The capacity to connect and collaborate will deliver positive results,” said Ramirez. “Our business world has been pretty virtual, but human interaction must be positive.”
Students should get an early start on networking and establishing contacts to build strategic relationships, panelists said. Critical thinking skills; willingness to learn and adapt to different situations as well as to pivot when the environment requires it; and to know how to work together, is important they said.
“We need to get back to basics, and that’s communicating verbally and in writing,” said Thomas, noting that with 334,500 jobs supported by PortMiami requires a broad range of skillsets. “You have to be able to deliver the message effectively to us when you come in for an interview.”
What are the best methods for companies to get the right students on board?
“Invest in leadership capabilities for employees, provide a career path for students that offers meaningful lateral movements,” said Taveras, adding that Cargill has used feedback from departing employees to improve the company’s strategy and culture.
Added Gonzalez: “Have a clearly defined employee value proposition – define the benefits offered, include flexibility. Full-time onsite employers have to understand that you’re going to spend more time and money recruiting.”
Executives at PayCargo established a referral program that pays up to $2,000 to employees who refer job seekers. “It has been an unbelievable success because both have a commitment,” said Ramirez.
Miguel explained that Hellmann Worldwide Logistics offers a three-year dual study program where undergraduate students rotate to different departments or partner universities depending on their area of study. Also, an apprenticeship program allows employees to work in various departments and divisions.
The Trade and Logistics Industry Committee works with public and private sector industry leaders, educational institutions and institutional partners in Miami-Dade County, including PortMiami, Miami International Airport and World Trade Center Miami to expand the industry’s presence. It also supports recruitment, expansion, and retention programs.