High Demand for Broader Qualifications in the Supply Chain Industry
According to a research study conducted by the University of Northampton, 55% of employers are struggling to recruit supply chain professionals with the right skills. This is due to a demand for a different and complex skill set in the industry. More companies are using big data for industry insights, so hiring teams are seeking candidates with mathematical and data driven backgrounds. According to a DHL report, the new ideal supply chain employee would have both tactical and operational expertise as well as analytical skills. However, 58% of employers say that they struggle finding candidates with this combination. The report predicts that new industry talent will be required to excel at: Leadership Strategic thinking Innovation High-level analytic and technological capabilities IT procurement and transformation Market data procurement
Skills Shortage in the Supply Chain Industry
This new demand for skills, however, is exacerbating recruitment problems in an industry that is already experiencing a skills shortage. Ajilon Professional Staffing Agency reported that there was a 45% increase in demand for logistics and supply chain jobs in 2016. While the demand for skills continues to grow, the amount of people that can perform these skills is decreasing. This skills shortage is because of lack of education and training, and an aging workforce. 1. Education shortage According to a study by Judd Aschenbrand, the research director at Peerless Research Group, 78% of supply chain professionals report that the number of responsibilities that they’ve been asked to perform has increased over the past year. This is because there are not enough educational courses and programmes to keep up with the demands of the industry. According to Hau Lee, a professor of Supply Chain Management at Stanford, “There just aren’t that many universities finding the number of people needed.” This has resulted in fewer fulltime supply chain professionals worldwide, despite the growing demand for new skills and positions. 2. Aging workforce According to DHL, industry demographics in the UK, Europe and the US are causing the skills shortage. As the baby boomer generation retires, employers are struggling to find skilled employees to replace them. While millennials are available to fill entry-level positions in the industry, they don’t yet have the training or expertise to take leadership positions. According to Elementum, this is because of the disconnect between the skills taught in higher education and the skills that employers are looking for. Many employers require candidates to have on-the-job experience, which limits the number of new workers that they can recruit.
The Potential Impact of Brexit on the Supply Chain Industry
While there is no final decision about Brexit just yet, supply chain employers are actively preparing for its potential impact. This is because changes in the border between Ireland and the UK would have a direct impact on the supply chain industry for both countries. According to Brightwater, supply chain professionals will have to come up with innovative ideas to manage cost efficiencies and business needs in the case of Brexit. According to a report by the National Skills Council, Brexit would cause noticeable skills gaps in areas such as: Customs expertise Financial management International trading The change would also cause a higher demand for professionals in sectors such as: Freight transport Distribution Logistics In the case of Brexit, the National Skills Council encourages supply chain employers to work on reskilling and upskilling current employees in order to prepare for any potential impacts.
Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in the Supply Chain Industry
Because of the industry’s high demand for new skills and its consequential skills shortage, supply chain employers are focusing on better ways to attract and retain top talent in the sector. According to DHL, 70% of supply chain professionals believe that they are struggling to attract and retain talent because of the negative perceptions about career growth in the industry, especially with younger workers. Because of this, more employers are offering better learning and development opportunities, according to a 2019 Morgan McKinely report. They are also attracting and retaining talent by: Improving the image of the industry Ensuring that supply chain positions are financially rewarding Engaging the education sector However, employers must also be aware of what current employees are searching for. According to the Morgan McKinley report, the top career goals for supply chain professionals in 2019 are:
- 36% Earn more money
- 32% Improve job satisfaction
- 23% Improve work/life balance
- 9% Progress within the industry