Supply Chain Talent: Increasingly Challenging to Find

Tags: Education & Careers, Logistics, Careers, Supply Chain

Tisha Danehl is Vice President, Ajilon Professional Staffing

Organizations looking to optimize their supply chain and logistics functions should be on the lookout: There will be shifting demand for supply chain and logistics talent within the next decade.

Finding, training, and retaining supply chain and logistics talent is becoming increasingly difficult. In today's competitive business environment it is crucial to team up with high-performance professionals who are able to take supply chain and logistics organizations to the next level.

Employment of logisticians, for example, is seeing a projected 2-percent growth through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). "Employment is expected to grow as companies need more logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement,” the BLS notes. In addition, the BLS anticipates a wave of new job opportunities in the logistics industry, as many seasoned logisticians are expected to retire with a large group of Baby Boomers by 2024. This means that there should be good prospects for candidates who have previous experience using logistics software, or doing logistical work for the military, for example. However, finding those candidates is not always easy.

Supply Chain and Logistics Talent

In the last few years, filling supply chain management and logistics positions has become increasingly more challenging. Most organizations find the most difficult positions to fill are those in the areas of planning, which require mastery of technology and an in-depth business understanding. This, combined with a shortage of new college graduates in the supply chain and logistics field, makes the situation even worse. The best and brightest graduates are quickly snatched up, leaving a big gap in the open market for supply chain management talent. And the highest shortage of talent is found in middle management.

Here’s how to win the war for supply chain and logistics talent:

Existing talent management programs need to be re-evaluated. This offers structurally sound employee value propositions that translate into opportunity, work, and rewards attractive enough to attract the best talent.

Cross-functional training for existing employees. Skill development for mid-management supply chain leaders is of paramount importance.

Recruiting and mentoring high-performance talent who possess soft skills. The supply chain is an evolving industry rich in professionals with hard analytical skills. To reach the perfect level of balance, organizations need more talent with soft skills.

Focusing on retention. Once organizations lock in high-performance talent, they should give their supply chain and logistics employees a clear career roadmap and opportunities to acquire skills to climb the leadership ladder.

Investing in talent and leadership development. Develop career potential and morale by adding compensation and incentive programs to the mix.

Create a talent pipeline. Collaborate with colleges, universities and high schools to nurture and discover potential talent.

Both organizations and candidates should keep an eye open for changing conditions in the rapidly evolving supply chain and logistics industry. Opportunities are open to those who are willing to invest in continuous education and leadership development.