Back on the Millennial beat: Supply Chain experts tap Millennials to fill the talent gap in the coming years

March 5, 2014

It’s remarkable how quickly the tone of many ‘think pieces’ has morphed from portraying Millennials as incompetent, entitled and lazy to touting them as creative, tenacious and disciplined. That’s quite the eye opener.

Back in December, we posted an article called “How will Millennials fare in the future of Supply Chain Jobs?” We had been reading articles all over the place about the rising Millennial workforce and how it has its own unique skills and priorities in the workforce. We saw this as a chance to chime in with our thoughts – we see the Millennial generation as a key component in filling the “Supply Chain Talent Gap” –  that’s the deficit that experts see on the horizon between the amount of new Supply Chain jobs and the amount of talented people who will be able to fill them.

Supply Chain Priorities and Millennials’ Strengths are Closely Aligned

Millennials (loosely understood as people who came of age around the year 2000 and later) are the newest generation to enter the workforce, so on one level their ascent into Supply Chain roles is a demographic inevitability because let’s face it that’s where a lot of the best jobs are going to be. But beyond this, there is some crucial overlap between the unique strengths of Millennials and the adapting needs of the global Supply Chain going forward. For example, Millennials’ familiarity and comfort with technology is an absolute perfect fit for Supply Chain’s increasing technological sophistication.

There’s been lots of thought leadership on this very subject since we wrote our original article. Business Benchmarking research group APQC recently published a post by American Supply Chain expert Becky Partida called “Can Millennials Bridge the Supply Chain Gap?”

We were gratified to see that some experts are stepping forward to think about how the Supply Chain industry might tackle this issue. Partida says, “there is a definite gap between the skills needed in the supply chain and the skills possessed by current supply chain job applicants. Some of the skills most lacking in these candidates are strategic in nature, such as global supply chain knowledge, supply chain strategy, and leadership experience.”

She goes on to identify the most important strategic talents that Supply Chain professionals will need in the coming decades, saying “future supply chain executives will need to be well versed in organizational politics, globally aware, culturally sensitive, socially responsible, tech savvy, devoted to life-long learning, and able to choose the best way to communicate a message in a given situation.”

How are Institutions Preparing Millennials for Supply Chain jobs?

The way we see this, those priorities are very well-aligned with characteristics that most experts associate with the Millennial generation. That’s all well and good. And, catching on to the high demand for professionals in the field, many Supply Chain Management programs are springing up in postsecondary institutions. But how well are these institutions preparing young people for the field?

Well, we happened to notice another, more recent article by Ms. Partida on Spend Matters, a leading Procurement Blog, which attempts to address this very concern. APQC conducted a survey of leading Supply Chain Professionals to determine whether, in their eyes, young people graduating from Supply Chain disciplines have the proper skills for Supply Chain jobs.

It specifically identified that lots of these graduates had strengths in more traditional Supply Chain skills such as inventory management and transactional Procurement. But many of the experts surveyed identified that recent graduates were weaker on data and analytics capabilities – which are some of the more strategic, future-oriented Supply Chain competencies.

We all know that Millennials are really tech savvy, resourceful, creative out of the box thinkers and well, just strategic by nature – it’s how they have grown up into adults. But it looks like these institutions still have some room to improve in terms of making sure that their offerings are well-aligned with the specific skills that are most in demand. < for specific survey results. For our part, we’re happy to share these latest findings with our network, especially those in the Supply Chain space looking to the future to see how organizations are going to deal with staffing issues in the future. A strong relationship with a Recruitment Partner in this particular niche would be highly valuable. Reach out to Argentus for your top Direct Hire & Contract Supply Chain Talent. Check out our website atwww.argentus.com. We can help – we really can.

Over and out

Bronwen

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