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Benefit From the Shortage of Supply Chain Professionals

In a global economy, with multinationals competing to maximize ROI for every dollar spent, success is often determined by getting products to customers efficiently. This can only be achieved with corporate expertise in supply chain management. Managers and other professionals in the supply chain are hot commodities. They control the flow of information, money and shipments between their companies, customers and suppliers.

Studies Show High Long-Term Demand

The growing global supply chain is now a $26 trillion per year industry, according to SDC Executive. A recent University of Tennessee study showed that 90 percent of CEOs believe their organizations need to step up efforts to attract supply chain talent. A Deloitte study confirms this finding, showing that just 38 percent of executives believed their companies had the necessary supply chain competencies on staff. This talent shortage is one of the “major barriers preventing innovation in the supply chain,” according to a study by logistics trade group MHI. Companies will need to fill 1.4 million new jobs between 2014 and 2018. Demand could rise beyond this period as Baby Boomers in the industry retire.

Reasons for the Shortage

There has been a consistent shortage of professionals with the supply chain management training employers need. One problem is in communication; the term “supply chain” does not fully convey the role of lean manufacturing, movement and storage in determining an organization’s future. It is pivotal, to say the least, and a shortage in talent can spell an organization’s demise. Another problem might be the misconception among the younger generations about what it means to have a career in supply chain logistics. This profession is about much more than the math behind shipping and receiving; it is about managing the dynamic relationships between customers and suppliers. To do this effectively requires holistic collaboration between departments, from marketing to data analysis. Working in this field requires an array of innate talents and trained skills, and there is status and prestige to be had for those who qualify.

Another reason for the shortage is the industry’s rate of expansion relative to the rate of educating future professionals. In both the academic and industry settings, there has been a lag in preparing future generations of supply chain logistics professionals. In part, that is because the qualifications for specialized positions within the industry keep changing. In addition to core responsibilities, professionals must be educated in other aspects of the industry, from product design to geopolitics. As the industry has gone through iterations, educational institutions have developed a grasp of these vital skills and how to train future professionals in them.

The Opportunity for Graduates

A diverse array of opportunities awaits graduates of an MBA program specializing in supply chain management. A common position for recent graduates is supply chain analyst. Ranked among the “Best Jobs in America” by CNN/Money, this position assesses how a product gets from point A to point B and finds ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs and price products effectively. It offers a median pay of $67,800 and 25.5 percent projected 10-year job growth. Top pay is $97,100, and success in this role often leads to many management and leadership opportunities with income ceilings in the 200K — 300K range, as of 2017. The future looks even brighter for professionals who seize the opportunity today.

Learn more about the UNC Pembroke online MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management program.


SDC Executive: Four Reasons for the Supply Chain Talent Shortage

IndustryWeek: Talent Shortage Is a Weak Link in the Supply Chain

U.S. News & World Report: Study Supply Chain Management for a Career Boost

CNN Money: Best Jobs in America

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