5 Ways to Combat the Supply Chain Talent Gap

April 19, 2018

This guest post comes from Fronetics, a boutique marketing firm focused on the Supply Chain and Logistics industries. Written by Elizabeth Hines.  

In the wake of the supply chain talent gap, try these strategies to fill critical positions with qualified employees and to create a pipeline of future talent.

It’s no secret — the supply chain is experiencing a major talent gap. In fact, according to Supply Chain Insights, 60% of companies within the supply chain industry have job openings, and 51% of companies are seeing an increase in turnover of supply chain leaders. So what can you do to overcome the talent shortage?

These five strategies can help companies feeling the strain of the supply chain talent gap.

5 strategies for overcoming the supply chain talent gap:

1) Partner with universities and educational programs.

In an interview with Fronetics, SCM Talent Group founder Rodney Apple suggested that companies looking to attract top talent should “partner with supply chain universities and proactively recruit students from these universities, early and often.”

As more and more universities are offering supply chain degrees, these schools are a prime recruiting ground for highly qualified candidates for entry-level positions. This means “proactively reaching out to universities in the region and even nationally that match up with people in the workforce,” says Apple.

2) Be open-minded in your hiring.

A recent Google study has yielded what might be a surprising result that points to the importance of open-mindedness in hiring practices. While conventional wisdom suggests that recruiters should be focusing on STEM capabilities, it turns out that “soft skills” are often a more accurate predictor of innovation and success.

In the same vein, it’s increasingly being suggested that liberal arts grads could play an important role in the future of the supply chain. These majors emphasize the kind of critical-thinking skills that are crucial for future leadership potential.

3) Promote from within — from the manufacturing floor and beyond.

When looking to fill higher level positions, you may be overlooking a tremendously important resource: your own people. Promoting from within has several obvious advantages. Firstly, there’s institutional knowledge and trust built in — you already have relationships in place.

Promoting from within means that you’ll be placing people in higher level positions who understand the particular intricacies of your operations. This, in turn, means you save valuable time on training and eliminate what could otherwise be a steep learning curve.

4) Invest in talent acquisition.

Talent acquisition can quite literally shape the future of your company, and it’s crucial that you make it a priority. This often means working with a recruiting firm, particularly one that specializes in the supply chain.

In addition to partnering with supply chain universities, Apple suggests that companies “invest more into job training and mentoring programs, like supply chain certifications and tuition reimbursement.”

5) Rebrand the supply chain.

While the shortage of supply chain talent is often attributed to a skills gap, there’s a more fundamental problem: The supply chain just isn’t perceived as sexy.

“Perceptions need to change — fast,” writes Fronetics CEO and Founder Frank Cavallaro. While it won’t necessarily be easy, “convincing the public — young and old — that the manufacturing industry really is undergoing a renaissance” is ultimately the most lasting fix to combat the supply chain talent gap.

Placing the spotlight on new technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, and advanced analytics should demonstrate that the supply chain is a place for creativity, critical thinking, and fulfilling careers.

How is your company combating the supply chain talent gap?

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