Many universities have created supply chain management degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in response to supply chain’s growing popularity as a discipline. But there is no evidence so far that graduates with these degrees are adequately prepared for supply chain jobs, or whether organizations are actively seeking employees with these degrees.
Even more problematic: there are still skills gaps among recent supply chain job candidates. A degree doesn’t guarantee that graduates will have the talents that supply chain organizations are seeking.
These gaps primarily occur when there is a lack of fully developed strategic skills.
For example, in a recent survey, APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) asked respondents to rate recent supply chain job candidates in 18 areas.
The results indicated that candidates are best prepared for more basic aspects of the supply chain discipline, such as procurement, inventory management and supplier management. However, they only scored in the 3s on a scale of 1 to 5, with five being the best possible score, which means there is room for further skill development.
And that’s just for tactical skills. APQC also asked survey respondents to rate the importance of soft skills in the supply chain. Business ethics, problem solving, customer focus, decision making and teamwork were highest rated. These are skills that are difficult to teach in a classroom.
So how does this gap impact the recruiting and retaining of talent in supply chain organizations?
Supply chain strategists are among the most difficult positions to fill, as much so as executives and directors.
And how can your organization combat these problems? Some supply chain companies have adopted training programs to improve the skills of high-potential employees once they have been brought on board. Some are partnering with universities that offer supply chain management degrees and providing internship opportunities to college students to give them real-world experience. Both of these approaches can help new supply chain professionals gain crucial depth in skills and experience.
One great way to find candidates with the experience you need is to work with an experienced niche recruiting firm like ZDA Supply Chain Professionals. We have access to candidates at all levels of the supply chain that have the experience and skills your company is seeking. Call or contact us anytime you want to talk about filling the hiring gaps at your supply chain company!