Supply chain jobs expected to grow significantly

Supply chain recruiters are likely seeing an increase in their sourcing activity. As many companies operating in the business-to-consumer sector place an increased emphasis on strengthening the relationship with their customers, improving supply chain activities is at the forefront of an initiative such as this.

According to Crain's Cleveland Business, many college and university students are graduating with degrees in logistics and supply chain management. In addition, incoming freshman are becoming interested in this area of study. Crain's wrote that the University of Akron's supply chain and operations management program, in its nine years of existence, began to double its enrollment in 2012 and now has more than 100 students focused on this area of study.

The Tampa Bay Business Observer recently reported on a workforce development partnership between St. Petersburg College and CareerEdge Funders Collaborative to address training needs for those interested in working in logistics, distribution and transportation. Analysts predict that within the next six years, supply chain jobs in this area of Florida will increase by 13.8 percent.

Crain's, citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, stated that over the next seven years, jobs in the supply chain sector will grow by as much as 22 percent. In both instances, there will need to be people qualified to hold these positions.

"This partnership will be a true asset as we strive to train our students to meet the burgeoning demand for a skilled supply chain workforce," Bill Law, president of St. Petersburg college said in a press release quoted by the Business Observer. "This strikes at the very heart of our efforts at the college – to help students enter or re-enter the workforce with the skills they need to build careers in high-demand industries."

All told, there will be an influx of people with specialized skills in supply chain management that will be in great demand in the coming years. Supply chain recruiters will need to pay close attention to industry demands and those leaving their post-secondary education with a degree in this particular area.

Growth of the supply chain industry
Technology has changed the way that businesses operate, primarily due to demands of consumers. Today, people want to have things as quickly as possible, and any dissatisfaction can cause an organization to develop a negative reputation in the marketplace. It is not uncommon for an unhappy customer to voice his and her opinions on social media, which could then reach thousands of people at the same time.

To avoid this while maintaining a positive relationship with consumers, companies have begun to understand that by strengthening their supply chain tactics, they can easily mitigate these negative outcomes.

"People are recognizing that supply chain can be a strategic part of the business," Richard Sprungle, vice president of operations at Audio-Technica's U.S. operational arm, told Crain's. "Customers are becoming much more demanding. They want it shipped a certain way, labeled a certain way and have it on a certain date. We're not just hiring someone to put it in a box and ship it out the door. There's more thought put into it."

Supply chain recruiters would be wise to pay close attention to both industry trends and the rates of graduation of those holding degrees in operations management and logistics. These will be the individuals with skillsets in the highest demand based on the anticipated growth of the industry. By identifying these candidates early and working to get them placed in either full-time or contract positions, it will put a supplemental staffing agency at a competitive advantage and improve the relationship with both clients and those seeking work opportunities.