Supply Chain Matters continues with our efforts to provide varying global-wide perspectives and viewpoints regarding the recognized challenge of supply chain talent retention. In order to do so, we from time to time, invite global search firms to provide their perspectives.

The following guest posting is contributed by Richard Paisley, Group CEO for global-based supply chain recruitment experts Proco Global.


The need for supply chain professionals, from truck drivers to warehouse managers, is only going to increase. People in senior positions continue to retire at a regular rate, clearing the floor for new talent. So why does the availability of staff continue to diminish in the US and across Europe? Why is the gap increasing?

This infographic produced by supply chain executive search specialists Proco Global displays, amongst other sources, some of the PwC’s 2014 CEO Survey’s results in a striking fashion. Perhaps the most revealing finding is that 93 percent of the CEOs polled know that they need to change their talent retention and attraction methods, but 61percent have yet to act. Another finding is that the most difficult positions to fill are in the areas of planning which require both a technical mastery of technology and an organizational understanding of business drivers.

In terms of main concerns, retirement is nothing new to a well-reported aging workforce and new skills will always be required with advancements. What’s noticeable, is the worry about talent being pulled away to other sectors. The aforementioned percentages suggests that the majority of companies aren’t doing enough to reverse the tide.

The labour gap in Europe’s supply chains is expected to reach 8.3 million by 2030.Fghting off poaching from other industries will be vital to keep this number down. To do this, supply chain needs an overhaul. It can start by plotting its direction towards more appealing practises, including economic, environmental and social responsibility.

Official reports are widespread and all pull in this direction. The World Economic Forum recently claimed that firms with responsible supply chains experience a “triple supply chain advantage”, namely increased revenue, reduced costs and improved brand perception. While money will always be the main concern, the latter has a major role to play in overcoming the talent shortage.

While some would say there are not enough people to fill these positions, these young people do exist. While an aging workforce is a major reason for much of the talent leaving the industry, an image problem is at least partly responsible for the lack of people from the next generation joining it.

By moving towards more transparent, sustainable operations, such as ensuring greener processes and ethical working conditions, firms from all over the globe could be perceived as more attractive employers. While this won’t solve the talent shortage alone, it could make the industry more tempting.

If this is combined with renewed efforts to reach the potential SCM leaders of the future, the talent gap does not have to be permanent.

About the Author: Richard Paisley founded Proco Global in 2008 in response to a very obvious gap in the market – executive level recruitment focused solely on end-to-end supply chains (procurement, manufacturing, and quality and operational excellence). Over the last six years he has expanded the business into Asia, the Americas and continental Europe for two very simple reasons: to ensure we have a presence in those locations where our clients need us, and to strengthen the specialist nature of our approach to supply chain executive search.


Note: Proco Global was invited by Supply Chain Matters to submit this guest commentary and has no financial or other affiliation with our organization.