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Future Supply Chain Managers


Attracting and retaining good people is hard these days.  Career patterns are changing and the current trend amongst millennials in particular seems to be “learn as much as possible,” then move on to a more senior position.


Future Supply Chain Managers

I was involved in a very interesting discussion a few years ago in Australia, on the topic of emerging workforce trends and the strategies that could be adopted to meet these challenges. Here’s a quick summary of that discussion:


Workforce Trends

1) In some sectors there is a move to the mining sector due to the attraction of great pay, leaving a shortage elsewhere.


2017 Update: This trend continues despite an increase in mining automation and the casualisation of mining employment. Job opportunities in Australian mining continue to increase, with year-on-year numbers for May 2017 being up to 70% compared with 2016.


2) Millennials tending not to stay long with any particular employer.
3) Companies face an ongoing challenge to identify training-investment levels
4) Very high churn rate of staff in retail.
5) Supply Chain and Logistics jobs are not perceived as attractive, especially to women.
6) In Australia in particular, the Logistics industry workforce is ageing fast, with little new ‘blood’ coming in.  The transport sector is the hardest hit!

So what strategies can be used to attract and retain good people? Do we simply accept that staff turnover will be high and plan accordingly? Do we limit our investment in training and development and base succession strategy on recruitment rather than internal promotion?


Possible Strategies to Attract Future Supply Chain Managers

Here are some strategies that were discussed:

  • Intensify the promotion of Supply Chain and Logistics as a worthwhile and rewarding industry.
  • Expand graduate programs to attract bright people.
  • Sponsor more overseas staff, where it was hard to fill roles locally.
  • Offer longer term benefits and opportunities to potential new hires.

According to a 2015 study by SCM World, the challenges here in Australia are reflected on the global stage.


The Millennial View of Supply Chain Management Career Paths

The findings of the SCM World research are telling. For example:

  • Only 20% of supply chain professionals believe that fast-track career progression is possible in the organisations they work for.
  • The majority of the respondents said they cannot see a supply chain career path as being a route to the C-Suite.
  • The majority of millennials in supply chain careers are dissatisfied with their levels of compensation.

This short article was first published over four years ago. Since then and even since the 2015 study by SCM World, the challenges of attracting future talent certainly haven’t diminished.


How Will You Attract and Retain Future Supply Chain Managers?

As for the sponsorship of staff from overseas, that looks set to become tougher in Australia with the recently announced tightening of foreign-worker visa rules.

Attracting management talent in supply chain: it remains a tricky problem doesn’t it?  What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013. It has now been revamped and updated with more comprehensive and current information.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307
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