What Can Brown Do For You?

Despite the inexorable rise of e-business, logistics – particularly shipping – remains one of the world’s fastest growing fields. UPS, the global leader in ground shipping, is boosting the size of its Louisville, Kentucky hub from 20,000 workers to more than 25,000 in 2010.

Labor and urban planning experts contend that transportation hubs such as the one UPS is investing US$1 billion to upgrade in Kentucky are critical to the rise of jobs – and community planning – in the 21st Century. The topic was explored last summer in a fascinating Fast Company article called Rise of the Aerotropolis. 

The article makes the case that in the future some employers will assemble teams of workers at or near giant airports. These highly mobile workers will come together for short-term projects before migrating to other global hubs according to the ebb and flow of talent supply and demand.

UPS, a US$43 billion company, has 407,000 employees worldwide, placing it second to DHL among transportation companies and one of the world’s largest corporate employers.

Would you pick up and move in anticipation of future work in or near a global transportation hub? It’s clearly not for everyone, and countries certainly aren’t ready to tackle the concept of a mobile, global talent pool. Still, if any industry is going to blaze a new trail in moving talent where it’s needed, I look to transportation industry leaders to get there first. Think of UPS as an employment pace-setter for this decade and beyond.