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Want to fill the supply chain talent gap? Rebrand the supply chain.

By Kate Lee | 07/08/2014 | 3:26 AM

According to Supply Chain Insights 60 percent of companies within the supply chain industry have job openings and 51 percent of companies are seeing an increase in turnover of supply chain leaders.  This is now.  Looking ahead, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that the number of logistics jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent by 2022 – nearly double the rate of other professions.

The shortage of supply chain talent is generally attributed to a skills gap.  Specifically, that graduates with undergraduate and graduate degrees in supply chain management are not adequately prepared for supply chain jobs, and that professionals within the supply chain do not have the skill set necessary to take on management roles.

Thought leaders including Lora Cecere and David Widdifield have offered viable strategies to address the skills gap.  That being said, focusing on education and training, employee retention and growth, and rethinking the talent pool itself does not address the bigger issue – the supply chain industry just isn’t perceived as sexy.

Bob Trebilcock captures this sentiment perfectly in a recent piece in the Supply Chain Management Review:

Admit it. You go to a party and someone asks you what you do for a living. You want to say: Hey, I’m the bass player for Metallica or I’m a transplant surgeon or I’m a skydiving instructor. Something with a Wow factor. Instead, a little sheepishly, with averted eyes, you say: Oh, I work in the supply chain.

Here’s the thing – the supply chain industry is perceived by those outside the industry as having no “wow” factor whatsoever.  If the supply chain industry is going to attract new and qualified talent, it needs a facelift.  It is time for the supply chain industry to rebrand itself. 

If the supply chain industry wants to fill open positions with great talent it needs to change its image.  Companies within the industry can start by redesigning their website and by becoming active in social media.  Companies can also rethink their recruiting materials and talking points. 

What is it that makes (or could make) the supply chain sexy?  What can the supply chain industry offer great talent?  How can the supply chain better showcase the supply chain of today?

If the supply chain industry can successfully rebrand itself, great talent will not dismiss the supply chain industry, instead it will come pounding at the door.

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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Kate Lee

Kate Lee

Kate Lee is the senior director of research and strategy for Fronetics Strategic Advisors, a Newburyport, Mass.-based consultancy that works with clients in industries including logistics and supply chain. She has over 20 years of domestic and international experience as a writer, researcher, and strategist.



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