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The UK logistics industry is one of the fastest growing areas of employment in the UK, bringing career opportunities to deprived areas targeted by the government’s levelling up agenda, according to an independent study by Frontier Economics.

The study, commissioned by Amazon and supported by Logistics UK, found that the sector has grown by 190,000 employees since 2019 and created a further 125,000 jobs in local communities.

Employment in logistics has doubled since 2012 and is on track to overtake the size of NHS England, the UK’s largest employer, in 2023, the report revealed.

Logistics also offers a route to management jobs for those that did not complete higher education, according to the study.

Around 35,000 people in the sector were promoted into management jobs in 2021, with only a third of managers in logistics having a university degree, compared to close to half in the wider economy.

The report also found that workers in the sector are satisfied on balance with their job security (67%), pay (67%) and workload (57%).

The concentration of logistics activity is well distributed across all the nations and regions of the UK, the study revealed, with logistics also able to create jobs in non-urban areas, including, for example, post-industrial sites.

In addition, logistics jobs were found to be half as likely as other jobs to be based in London.

The report says that this spread of jobs shows that the sector has a crucial role to play in supporting the government’s levelling up agenda, representing a key driver of employment in levelling up priority areas, with four in ten logistics jobs created since 2012 located in the government’s high priority areas, compared to only one in four jobs for other sectors.

Logistics businesses have had a noticeably positive economic impact in their surrounding areas, the analysis found, increasing an area’s economic growth by £300 per person per year, with every 1,500 logistics jobs supporting a further 1,000 jobs in the local area.

Sarah Snelson, Frontier Economics director, said: “The valuable role the logistics sector plays in supporting the levelling up of the UK is often overlooked.

“The sector has been growing rapidly. It offers significant employment and progression opportunities including for those individuals with limited formal qualifications.

“These opportunities span the country but are particularly apparent outside of London and the South East, unlike many other sectors.

“Areas that have seen the fastest growth of logistics employment over the last ten years have also seen faster growth in other employment.”

Baroness Vere, DfT roads minister, said: “This study further demonstrates what we’ve seen over the last few years, that our logistics industry is crucial in getting essential goods around the country, creating thousands of jobs and levelling up the UK.

“We know that the industry has had a difficult period and we have put in place 33 interventions to tackle the driver shortage. I will continue to support the sector as it works to further benefit communities across the UK.”

John Boumphrey, Amazon UK country manager, added: “We are proud to be a major part of the UK's logistics industry, which has risen to the challenges we've all faced over the last two years and kept us going throughout the pandemic.

“At Amazon, we are committed to ensuring we have a positive impact wherever we operate, including creating good jobs, opportunities for skills development, and economic growth right across the UK.

“Logistics continues to grow and create opportunities for jobs and careers that are accessible and open to all, as well as providing the infrastructure which enables SMEs to generate sales worth £170bn a year.”

Phil Roe, Logistics UK president, said: “The logistics industry is vital to the UK economy and society; it plays an essential role in supporting businesses and communities, ensuring that the goods and services the nation needs are delivered.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of the sector was highlighted more than ever before, and as we turn to recovery, the role of logistics must continue to be valued and recognised.

“With the logistics industry positioned uniquely as a provider of job opportunities across the entirety of the UK, it has an integral role to play in the UK’s levelling up agenda; Logistics UK will be supporting the government to ensure logistics is considered thoroughly in national and local planning strategies.”