Talent Shortage in the Supply Chain Discipline

In recent years, many industries have experienced worker shortages, and the supply chain discipline is no different. Fortunately, by evaluating the existing worker landscape and your company, you can pinpoint how to best attract new talent to your organization. Understanding the talent shortage will allow you to connect with your potential talent and appeal to them, increasing your talent pool and boosting your company’s productivity.

What Is Causing the Shortage of Supply Chain Talent?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant cause of supply talent shortages. Over the past three years, many workers have taken a step back from their jobs and chosen to leave their positions for other opportunities or to stay home. Pew Research Center reports that United States employees’ “quit rate” hit a 20-year high in November 2022.

Still, while the pandemic might have set off the shortage, it’s worth noting that numerous underlying factors are at play. Many employees left their positions searching for others, citing low pay and few advancement opportunities. Therefore, as the supply chain landscape evolves, it’s more important than ever for companies to meet workers’ needs and promote growth.

1. Rapid Expansion

The pandemic, coupled with an explosion in globalization, dramatically increased shipping demands. With so many parts and assemblies occurring in different countries, the supply chain discipline has become more complex than ever. These ever-increasing demands across the supply chain discipline means that demand far outpaces the available workforce.

Technology has expanded to optimize efficiency, and data analytics has increased precision. While this has improved supply chain operation, it has also advanced the discipline beyond its current labor force. Without enough people in place to keep pace with expansion, the discipline has experienced a shortage in both lower-level and senior-level positions.

2. Increased Qualifications

Rapidly-increasing qualifications go hand-in-hand with the industry’s expansion. Supply chain talent needs proficiency in innovation, leadership, analytical thinking, and operational skills.

Talent must also know how to use different software to maximize performance in the supply chain industry. Various roles and companies use unique software, meaning talent may need to know how to use several types of technology before they enter a new role.

Further, the ever-changing industry means talent must constantly learn and adapt as new, better operational methods develop. Executive positions have been harder to fill as candidates growing in their careers must be willing to adapt and learn new processes as they take on more senior roles within an organization.

As supply chain demands expanded during the pandemic, so did the need for more senior-level supply chain talent. Many organizations found that as they grew supply chain operations, they needed senior-level talent to help ensure all supply chain processes were running smoothly. At Optimum SCR, we understand that having a shortage of talent to fill your more senior-level positions can be critical and we work with companies to identify top passive talent to fill these positions.

3. Negative Role Perception

Working in the supply chain discipline is extremely rewarding, with talent working at the forefront of technological innovation and supporting an essential industry. However, poor marketing and low engagement with younger generations have created a dull, stagnant image of the supply chain industry. The phrase “supply chain logistics” is somewhat vague and doesn’t represent the various, specific roles talent can have.

As a result, upcoming talent doesn’t see it as the exciting, lasting career it can be and may avoid looking into it as a result.

Growing that positive perception of the discipline for younger generations and helping them develop their careers in the supply chain discipline in key to continue to grow the next generation of supply chain executives.

Strategies for Overcoming the Supply Chain Talent Shortage

While there are reasons supply chain talent is scarce, you can implement several measures to help counteract them. Supply chain talent can be recruited with the proper training, marketing and support.

Investing in your current and future talent pool can only benefit your company — the more you put into talent, the more you’ll get out. Building and advertising a fulfilling, lasting role will go a long way toward recruiting talent to your organization and helping that talent grow their careers in your organizations.

1. Clearly Defined Training and Upward Mobility

With the ever-evolving roles of supply chain talent and a huge range of necessary skills, implementing quality in-house training programs for talent is more critical than ever. Supporting in-house talent means you don’t have to look elsewhere to fill positions, and you’ll encourage existing talent to stay with your company and grow into senior level roles.

Candidates want consistent support and opportunities for upwards mobility — showing them a clear path for advancement enables them to give back to the company and remain there for years.

2. Internships and Referral Programs

Part of recruiting new talent is appealing to younger generations. If the upcoming talent pool is unfamiliar with the supply chain industry, they won’t gravitate toward it. Investing in internships and referral programs with colleges and universities will put the word out there and get upcoming graduates interested in your organization.

Internships and referral programs also help train and vet talent before they’re hired. Working an internship shows talent what’s expected of them and trains them early, getting them ready for the job before they’re officially hired and making the transition easier. Referral programs allow your talent to recommend talent you might’ve otherwise missed.

3. Flexibility and Culture Refinement

Talent will want to join your company and stick around if you offer flexible working conditions and connect with them about their concerns. Consider offering hybrid or remote positions to expand your talent pool and ask your workforce what they need from you to be successful and stick around.

Communicating with talent and adjusting your company culture and conditions to make them more comfortable improves productivity and loyalty.

4. Better Networking and Branding

Work with supply chain associations and recruiters to help improve your branding and networking. They’ll help put the word out about your organization for better visibility. If no one knows about your company, offerings and culture, they won’t apply. Expanding your reach will increase your talent pool.

With a supply chain recruiter, you can delegate the talent search to a group with the training and experience to succeed. You’ll be able to work as usual while the recruitment group helps you refine your process and finds you the right candidates, minimizing stress and interruptions. Specialized recruiters like Optimum SCR can help you fill more senior level positions which may be more critical for your company to fill quickly.

Grow Your Talent With Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters

Retaining talent means building the proper support structure and finding the right people for the job. Good talent will thrive when given the right training, progression path and assistance.

However, the first step in recovering from a talent shortage and retaining talent is recruitment. Finding suitable candidates for each position ensures your business excels long-term. With Optimum SCR, you can get the right talent in place for lasting success.

Our professional supply chain network allows us to reach top talent and vet them for your organization. Supply chain roles require lots of skill and talent, making it necessary to employ experts to find the right professional for the job. Optimum SCR’s recruiting specialists will carefully evaluate your company and the offered role to identify the best candidates quickly and put them in touch with your organization.

If you’re looking to increase your talent pool, contact us today and find the talent you need.

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