In the face of a huge talent gap in the supply chain, smart organizations are looking toward the millennial generation as a critical component to their hiring strategies. Today, with the right education, millennials see the electronics supply chain as a promising and exciting career opportunity. Sometimes criticized as being lazy and self-involved, these 20 and 30-somethings can be focused, engaged, enthusiastic and committed employees, according to recent research from APICS, the professional association for supply chain management.
The study, which was conducted by Peerless Research Group in conjunction with Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR) and the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), found that younger workers are enthusiastic about the promise of a career in the supply chain. “The results of the report are eye-opening, especially when compared to the more senior supply chain professionals in leadership positions, who were part of a previous study from APICS and SCMR in 2016,” said APICS CEO, Abe Eshkenazi. “We see that more millennials started their career in supply chain, are moving around less, are highly satisfied with their jobs and see more opportunities for advancement in the field.”
Three quarters of those millennials surveyed started their career in supply chain management, compared to most Gen X and Baby Boomer professionals who fell into the supply chain rather than intending to have a career there. Often, these young professionals have completed coursework or internships in supply chain and often even have undergraduate and graduate degrees in supply chain management and logistics. Despite a reputation for flightiness, millennials also have demonstrated more staying power than many. In fact, 60% of respondents report that they still work in the same area where they began their career. Further, 38% have worked for just one employer, while 31% for only two employers.
The report found that millennials are interested a broad variety of opportunities in the supply chain field, but supply chain design and planning holds the most appeal. As a group, these young professionals report great satisfaction in their career choice. For example, 81% said they feel like they can make a difference, 87% believe that their career will help their personal growth and development, and 88% believe they can advance in the field.
Organizations may need to tweak their approach when luring talent from this talent pool, but largely it’s worth the effort. “Despite some noted frustrations, millennials are continuous learners and fast movers who are eager to advance,” Eshkenazi concluded. “To address the ongoing skills gap, industry expectations, priorities and communication styles must adapt to and embrace the different needs of this younger generation. Millennials are growing and learning on the job in an era of lean, optimized, end-to-end supply chains and are critical to the ongoing transformation of the industry.”
The infographic below outlines some of the other study findings. Are you a millennial in the supply chain? Let us know in comments below what drew you into the profession. What did you look for in an employer?
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN