The issue of obtaining effective supply-chain talent is a crucial one for executives today. Over the last decade, says Stiffler, the demands on supply-chain managers have become elevated. It’s uncertain whether the current crop of would-be supply-chain specialists is equipped to deal with those changes.
In addition, the pool of talent is shrinking. Baby Boomers are beginning to depart the workforce, taking with them a substantial amount of knowledge and investment by their employers. Meanwhile, the next generation of workers is harboring “fundamentally different” expectations, including the degree to which they’re willing to commit to a company over the long term.
When it comes to the supply of candidates entering the workforce, “there’s definitely a sense of scarcity,” says Stiffler. The supply-chain profession lacks the visibility and respect of engineering, accounting and even the liberal arts. Most students entering the field have been prompted by a stray comment, article or family connection, she says – not a concerted effort on the part of supply-chain executives to attract new talent. The discipline as it stands “is not very appealing for young people seeking jobs,” she says.
Companies need to meet the crisis halfway. Leaders are actively working with universities to convey their expectations and ensure the readiness of a new crop of graduates. “It’s incumbent upon them to do something about the skills gap,” says Stiffler. “They need to be active and involved.”
There are five pillars of a successful supply-chain talent strategy, she says: detailed competency models, a well-thought-out career-path architecture, an effective learning and development effort, active recruiting and onboarding of new hires, and good performance management. “Leaders are working on all these in concert,” says Stiffler.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain jobs, supply chain careers, supply chain talent gap, supply chain planning