Hire the Pick of the Supply Chain Litter

The word on the street is that supply chain expertise is in short supply. That just makes finding and hiring the right supply chain professional that much harder.

Career Builder identified Logistician/Supply Chain Manager as a Top Growth Job for 2013. According to Career Builder, since 2010 this position has experienced 8 percent job growth. However, there are few people for the job — there is only one active candidate for every five jobs posted.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that colleges and universities have recognized this as an opportunity — “more than a half-dozen universities have recently introduced undergraduate majors, M.B.A. concentrations and even entire degree programs dedicated to procurement, inventory management and global supply-chain strategy.” The article continues by describing how companies such as General Dynamics Corp., Panasonic, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, and Target are scooping up graduates who have received a degree in supply chain management — the “hot new MBA.”

Finding the right person for a job opening is essential. Hiring the wrong person is a costly mistake not only financially, but also in terms of team morale. It is therefore important to make sure you take the necessary steps to identify and hire the right person. But, given the current environment, how do you find the right person for your job opening?

Working with schools to identify upcoming or recent graduates who are/were stars is one approach. Another is to look within the industry and identify individuals who are a good match. Another strategy is to look outside the industry. While this may seem counterintuitive, bringing in a talented professional from outside the industry could provide the fresh ideas and insight that your company needs. Similarly, take a look inside your organization — is there an employee who would thrive in a new role — even if it is outside their current field? Creativity and vision are key here.

Working with a strategic advisory firm is an option as well. This type of partnership, such as the ones I build with our clients, can make identifying the right talent for the right position easier. An advisory firm often has the pulse on where the most talented people are in the supply chain services and distribution industry. This type of partner can launch a successful candidate search process, get new hires up and running, and help retain talent for the long run.

11 comments on “Hire the Pick of the Supply Chain Litter

  1. Anand
    August 9, 2013

    As the prospects of working in a specific post and its field of application in the supply chain increases, so will increase the influx of natured professionals and ''star students'' who are eager to learn and work hard for it. Recently the supply chain has hit a new low, which is responsible for the lack of interest for jobs that do not suffice well enough when the market is low.

  2. Anand
    August 9, 2013

    The universities that are readying their top MBA students for their supply chain experience must be well aware of how the supply chain works. Most students do not know what to expect out of the supply chain.

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 9, 2013

    @anandavy, to be fair, though, does any student who comes out of school really understand what their desired field is really like? Unless one has had an internship opportunity, there's little way for a new person to know in any real world what it is like. Smart, capable and flexible people, though, will get up to speed.

  4. Lavender
    August 11, 2013

    Hi, Rich Krajewski, I agree with your paying spike. 

    Overall, supply chain risks lack of nonmaterial resources , but usually tedious supply chain structure causes more problems but not efficiency. Concentrating money of non-professional workers into a expert better saving enterprises' cost. 

    And higher paying will attract more job seeker to specialize in supply chain training. 

  5. Ariella
    August 13, 2013

    “Self-reporting by companies about how they are in short supply of talent is not proof. Surveys of companies taken by research consultants, or by government, are no better. Companies can say anything they want–it's not proof–and they have a motive for exaggerating, too, which is to drive salaries down by increasing supply. Again, salaries tell the real story. 

    @Rich I agree. Even salaries, though, are sometimes skewed, depending on how wide the sample size is and which companies are included. The same holds true for IT in general. 

  6. Mr. Roques
    August 14, 2013

    Why do you think there's a shortage? If from the supply-side, everything is ok (salary, benefits, etc.) what can be going wrong? 

    Maybe students don't know exactly what it means (or maybe the do!) and decide to go for something more popular or traditional. 

  7. elctrnx_lyf
    August 15, 2013

    I'm really surprised to hear the lack of professionals in supply chain. I believe the companies looking for short term benefits doesn't really invest in people and without any spend on talent growth. At the same time I do not think it is hard to find candidates as long as you have the right salary, benefits and commitment to employee.

  8. ahdand
    August 16, 2013

    @elctrnx: There are professionals but they do not have jobs. The ones who have jobs does not have a clear JD defined. That has to be sorted first. Then most of the issues will get sorted.  

  9. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 18, 2013

    @Rich, i think so many factors go into salary that it's hard to compare apples to apples. I went on and entered information about my location (which is the extremely expensive Silicon Valley CA area) and the median salary was $108,000 for a supply chain manager. Even those who are in the lowest percetile may considerably more than I do (and i hasten to add that I am a journalist not a supply chain professional). Top earners were making $142,000, which is not insubstantial. The site listed 172 jobs in my area. That feels like pretty high demand. By the same token, we have a lot of technology and electronics companies here.  Anybody else want to try this and report what they get by putting in their zip code? Go here:


    Be sure to report back!

  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 18, 2013

    @Mr. Roques, i agree that students don't even know of the opportunities. Maybe there should be more opportunities to do internships. I think that would help.

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 19, 2013

    @Rich, I agree…and this would be a fascinating information to have. Now we just have to find an impartial party to do the research!

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