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American Shipper

DHL: Digitization could lead to supply chain talent shortage ‘crisis’

Future supply chain companies will suffer from a poorly-developed workforce if companies do not adapt to digitalization and enable younger generations to fill supply chain roles, according to a recent survey from DHL.

   The supply chain talent pool is not keeping up with changing technology requirements, leaving a poorly-developed workforce for future logistics companies, according to findings from a recent DHL survey. 
   The survey, and consequent report titled “The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: From Gap to Crisis,” sought input from 350 industry professions in five global regions. The findings led the logistics company to call on industry leaders to “recognize the growing talent gap crisis in the supply chain sector,” as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that jobs in the industry will grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020. 
   Specific findings in the survey showed four top factors driving the talent shortage. One factor is the changing skill requirements which have left 58 percent of companies searching for a multi-talented and diverse workforce. Similarly, the workforce is leaving a large age gap in which a third is at or beyond retirement age, according to the survey.
   The third factor is the lack of development that one third of the companies surveyed say is occurring in the industry. Companies are not taking any steps “to create or feed their future talent pipeline.” The final factor is the “perception that supply chain jobs lack excitement,” leading to fewer recruits and interest in the industry. 
   “Leading companies understand that their supply chains – and the people who run them – are essential to their ability to grow profitably. However, the task of finding people with the right skill sets required to run these highly complex operations is increasingly difficult – especially at the middle- and upper management levels,” said Lisa Harrington, author of the DHL survey. “Unless companies solve this problem, it could threaten their very ability to compete on the global stage.”
   The report detailing the findings from the survey provides ways to close the talent gap. In order to attract talent, the industry needs to emphasize that “the future workforce will need to have skills in robotic management, AI and AV control.” In order to retain staff, companies should offer “clearer career paths and a visible commitment to the professional development of its supply chain staff combined with competitive remuneration packages,” said the report.
   “We recommend that companies start with prioritizing the development of their current talent pool to adapt to the changing job requirements through training programs, and then retaining staff through clear career paths,” said Louise Gennis, vice president of Talent Management/Acquisition, Learning & Development at DHL. “We strive to combat misconceptions surrounding working in the supply chain through highlighting the technological developments which are digitalizing the industry and that are attractive to younger demographics.”

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