A recent article in the Wall St. Journal titled “The Hot New M.B.A: Supply Chain Management” caught our eye. We have our ears to the ground in the world of staffing for Supply Chain and our other specialties, and if you’ve been reading our blog in the past few months you’re doubtlessly aware of our thoughts about the SCM talent shortage. Long story short, there are three factors contributing to the ongoing and increasing talent gap in Supply Chain Management and related functions (Logistics, Procurement, Operations, Distribution, etc.):
1. Retirement: Baby boomers are retiring in droves over the next 7 to 12 years. There are simply not going to be enough talented SCM experts to take their place.
2. Sector Growth: The Supply Chain sector is booming in the Canadian economy especially. The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council estimates that Canada will add about 80,000 jobs every year going forward. In the face of bad news everywhere on the job front, that’s great.
3. Lack of Education: Most organizations want professionals with degrees and certifications in the field. It’s no longer as easy as it once was to “fall into” SCM as a career. Secondary and Postsecondary schools need to do more to educate students about the career potential that Supply Chain provides. Most students simply aren’t aware that Supply Chain is a lucrative and growing career with lots of opportunity – this needs to start at the High School level.
It’s clear that the 3rd factor needs to change going forward. Well, This Wall St. Journal article shows things are going in the right direction in that regard, at least in the U.S. According to the WSJ, at least six U.S. universities have added Supply Chain Management programs in the past year. Rutgers, a top American business school, recently added SCM as an undergraduate program, showing that universities are starting to recognize the need to get young people interested in Supply Chain early. And many companies (like Deloite) are engaging in partnerships with universities to help them access and train the next generation of Supply Chain talent. Of course, much still needs to be done to educate students about the potential that SCM provides as a career. But all of these are positive steps, and hopefully these developments signal that talent supply might stay on pace with demand in this crucial field going forward.
We’d love to hear what progress Canada is making to keep abreast of this trend. What have you heard? From my prospective, I just had a son graduate from High School this last June and not once in the four years of HS did any of his career studies classes or University prep ever talk remotely about Supply Chain or Procurement as a possible career. Now that’s NOT a good trend at all if you ask me in attracting Canada’s youth to this burgeoning field. What can we do as business people to turn this around?
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