Prepare for the Crisis Ahead by Managing Your Talent Supply Chain


If the experts are right, in a few years we’ll look back at 2014 as “the good ole’ days for recruiting.” Over the next few years we are expecting the U.S. workforce to shrink dramatically. It is really a perfect storm…60 million Baby Boomers are retiring, with only 40 million new workers coming in to the workforce. And the participation rate of the younger generations—especially those in their teens and 20s—is at an all-time low. In other words, there will be fewer people available to work, and a smaller percentage of them will choose to work. The most likely result for our economy will be an increase in labor costs, and faster job switching by employees.

Meanwhile, there is significant job growth in virtually all supply chain careers. Companies are recognizing the need for professionals with cross functional expertise, and the economy is improving, which means there are more and more openings for qualified supply chain managers and supply chain engineers. The re-shoring trend and the demand for shorter delivery times are driving the construction of new distribution centers, and new jobs for associates and the technicians who install and operate supply chain equipment.

The shrinking supply of labor, coupled with an increasing demand, suggests a serious labor crisis ahead. How bad is it really? The 2015 Third-Party Logistics Study estimated that in the next few years there will be six open positions for every qualified supply chain professional in the workforce!

While the talent shortage will be felt throughout all segments of the economy, the effects appear to be even more concentrated in the supply chain because of the growth we are experiencing. Some of the things we need to do to mitigate this crisis can only be done at an industry level, but there are also actions we can take within our own firms to reduce the pain.

By Daniel Stanton, MHI VP, Education and Professional Development

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