The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters blog are now in the process of unveiling 2018 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains. Our previous blog posting addressed our first five predictions, with five more to follow.

As we were compelled to in 2017, our third 2018 prediction is that the supply chain management talent perfect storm will regrettably intensify in the coming year.

The current level of robust global supply chain activity coupled with the realities that many developed regions have reached full employment levels adds to the 2018 challenge.  Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group observed that there remains too much emphasis on “post and pray” and that supply chain employers need to think like marketing professionals, emphasizing branding, compelling career content, and benefit to recruitment activities. As Bronwen Hann, President and Senior Partner at Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting indicated: “Every company should be thinking about the bigger picture.” Employers will need to address the realities of re-doubling recruitment efforts that focus on broader needs in work-life balance, overall benefits as well as market competitive compensation levels. Jason Breault, Managing Director, LifeWork Search observed that candidate salary demands tend to go-down if work-life balance needs can be a part of the recruitment discussions.

The good news as we approach 2018 are clear signs that manufacturers, other employers as well as supply chain professional and academic organizations are rallying efforts to help in the recruiting, re-skilling as well ongoing training and certification.

Supply Chain Matters has previously highlighted calls from many to create awareness to supply chain management careers at the middle and secondary school levels. Operations management professional organization APICS, with the assistance of Intel has created the STEM Supply Chain Educational Outreach program to demonstrate the importance of supply chain management and the promising career paths available to them. APICS‘s goal is to reach more than 100,000 students by 2020 through volunteer speaking and student engagement activities.  Today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal highlights efforts from manufacturers (Paid subscription required) under the auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers to expand outreach at primary and secondary school levels, and directly with parents of such students, to consider careers in technical and manufacturing trade occupations. The report highlights expanding “Parent Night” events sponsored by manufacturers such as Deceuninck North America, Kreg Enterprises, Michelin North America, Toyota, and Woodward Inc. where parents and students are hosted on plant visits and hear about various manufacturing career options including employer-sponsored scholarship programs.

We have likewise joined others in social media to highlight the jointly sponsored ISM and ThomasNet 30 Under 30 Rising Stars Program that cites the accomplishments of millennials in procurement and supply chain management roles. Global candidates are nominated by their employers and selections are made by a selected board based on level of accomplishments and contributions.

Professional organization CSCMP continues to work with academics and supply chain thought leaders to develop, roll out and advance a broad curriculum of online courses to help individuals achieve new levels of specialization and expertise which improve opportunities for career advancement, talent management and employee retention.

Specialty supply chain management academic institutions such as MIT, Michigan State University and others have likewise expanded online education efforts to help existing professionals to broaden skills in new process and advanced technology areas.

While the supply chain talent shortfall continues in the coming months, there are many more options available for individuals, employers, and industry supply chain organizations to address needs for recruiting, training, and ongoing development.

The challenge remains educating at all levels, including senior management, and in focusing efforts in required current and future skills, development and overall compensation and work-life balance needs.

Supply chain management roles have transformed well beyond traditional manual labor and business overhead roles to that of making direct contribution to customer service and direct connection to business bottom-line performance goals. Careers paths are diverse, internationally focused and incredibly rewarding with more and more operational supply chain management professionals ascending to top-management positions.

Bob Ferrari

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