Are Supply Chain Executives Prepared For a Supply Chain Talent Crisis?

The supply chain talent crisis is a significant problem that will cause widespread disruption in the industry. More workers are retiring, and there are just not enough members from the newer generations interested in the industry. However, demand for more products, faster and at lower costs is increasing, so supply chain executives need to start thinking about how they can prepare for and respond to the current and forthcoming supply chain talent crisis.

Causes of the Supply Chain Talent Crisis 

The globalization of supply chain networks and new technologies, including automation and 3D printing, have contributed to a shift in the demand for skilled workers. According to HighJump, the number of available jobs in the industry will soar 26 percent, yet nearly 33 percent of current supply chain workers are at or around retirement age. This means workers are retiring faster than they can be replaced. In addition, the supply chain has a dirty, dingy image, created by stories from the industrial revolution and past recessions. However, that narrative can be reversed.

Action Today Can Lessen the Impact of the Crisis

Supply chain executives must tackle the problem from all sides, including:

  • Changing the perception of supply chain careers.
  • Recognizing the needs of millennials and the Gen Zers, as well as future generations.
  • Creating inclusive work environments that focus on a shared path to success.
  • Increasing career opportunities for new hires, ensuring next generation workers can always strive for improvement and advancement.
  • Connect with possible employees in communities through programs aimed at high-school students, those attending technical colleges, people of all backgrounds, and even those considering a career change later in life.

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Tips for Attracting and Retaining Supply Chain Talent

According to Andrea J. Fonte via Supply Chain Management Review, supply chain leaders need to take a few steps to attract and retain supply chain talent, including:

  1. Connect with talent on a personal level. Although this contradicts the adage of separating personal and professional lives, millennials do not value the conversations about “how things used to be.” Instead, they want to work with companies that value them as individuals, not just a lower-rung employee. Consider sharing personal stories and experiences outside of the workplace. Just remember to keep a professional distance to prevent conflicts of interest from arising. 
  2. Establish a collaborative, team-based culture. Millennials and Gen Zers are also dramatically focused on advancement and feedback. They want to work together and communicate with upper-level management. Supply chain executives should forge teams that consist of members from all tiers of the company, providing cross generational support and a liaison between each group. This inclusion supports problem-solving skills and effectively creates a culture of acceptance.
  3. Share success with employees. Fonte’s final tip is to give success when its due. The new generations want rewards and recognition. This does not necessarily have to be financial either. Also, encourage older-generation employees to share past experiences with the new generation and how problems were solved before global trade and technology held their prestige. The distinction in making this tip successful is to focus on past successes, failures, and their contributing factors among all generations. This will further reduce the impact of the supply chain talent crisis.

Bring Your Organization Into Modernity and Keep Your Employee Base Strong With the Right Blend of Technology and Work Environment

The world is evolving. Global trade is expanding, and the demand for more talented workers is increasing at a record pace. Supply chain leaders need to start thinking about how they can attract the next generation of talent and continue to meet the demands of a global market.

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