Recruiting Talent


A significant shortage of skilled supply chain professionals is prompting industry to focus on effective and inventive ways to recruit and retain talent. A growing interest in sophisticated, agile supply chains has combined with an improving economy and the graying of skilled executive ranks, among other factors, to create what one expert calls a “perfect storm” of need for supply chain talent.

Retailers, manufacturers, logistics providers and other businesses that demand strong supply chain expertise, therefore, need to embrace the best practices for attracting and developing both entry- and executive-level employees. These strategies range from broad efforts to raise awareness among schools and students about the industry and its hiring needs to recruiting practices that position a company as an attractive place to build a career. On a company level, best practices range from carefully crafted rotational programs that give entry-level professionals a taste of different roles, to mentoring and simply treating job candidates and employees well.

“There’s a pretty severe shortage in the industry,” Jake Barr, CEO and principal at BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting LLC and a former Procter & Gamble Co. supply network operations global director, said in a recent interview.

There are currently about six to eight supply chain management positions available for every qualified applicant, depending on the supply chain area, “so that’s a big problem,” he said. He cited a mismatch of openings and potential hires at lower ranks as well. Companies, therefore, have to step outside traditional recruiting approaches to fill those roles, Barr said.

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By Dinah Wisenberg Brin