Archive for the "Talent" Category


MIT Researchers: The Good Jobs of the Future Belong to the Supply Chain Economy

MIT Researchers: The Good Jobs of the Future Belong to the Supply Chain Economy

New research backs up what we already know: the supply chain economy is a hotbed of innovation, and that opens up immense professional opportunities.


Highlights:

  • New research assigns some numbers to two facts that every Supply Chain professional knows: the sector is full of opportunity for professionals and it is a hotbed for innovation.
  • Supply Chain industry innovations have a tendency to reverberate and cascade throughout the wider economy as they filter from suppliers, to the companies they supply, and finally to the consumer.
  • People who are able to harness and drive supply chain innovation have some of the brightest job prospects in tomorrow’s economy.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

A new Harvard Business Review article lays out some striking research out of MIT about the role of Supply Chain Management within the broader economy. Written by Mercedes Delgado and Karen Mills, the study seeks to better define what constitutes the “Supply Chain” part of the economy, and what doesn’t. The goal? To better define Supply Chain Management’s place in the broader economy, and the role it plays in terms of innovation.

The researchers define “Supply Chain” industries as any industries that sell upstream to businesses and government entities. It excludes industries selling direct to consumer (B2C). It’s a bit of a curious definition – what about the B2C companies with strong supply chain and distribution networks? – but we’ll roll with it.

In short, the research assigns some numbers to two facts that every Supply Chain professional knows: the sector is full of opportunity for professionals. It’s also a hotbed for innovation which has a tendency to filter into other sectors of the economy.

The MIT researchers studied the historical role that these Supply Chain companies have played in American innovation. For example, Intel’s semiconductors and Microsoft’s enterprise software are innovations with their roots in the supply chain – supplying to companies – that are almost unparalleled in terms of their downstream effect on the overall economy, as well as the daily experience of the average person.

The researchers make an interesting point: compared to “B2C” industries, Supply Chain industry innovations have a tendency to reverberate and cascade throughout the wider economy as they filter from suppliers, to the companies they supply, and finally to the consumer. Technologies like cloud computing –which is now sold to 90% of industries – have their roots in the Supply Chain, which helps them diffuse across industries as they spread downstream and become integral to the economy. In Delgado and Mills’ estimation, this “trickling down” gives these innovations a multiplying effect that isn’t found in more consumer-facing industries.

Put aside the fact that the most successful consumer-facing companies of the past several decades have been tremendously innovative (Apple and Amazon, for example) – in part because of their Supply Chain practices – and it’s an intriguing idea. The fact is, Supply Chain management drives innovation, and the people who drive that innovation have some of the brightest job prospects out of anyone in the economy.

People in Supply Chain are more likely to be in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) than the wider economy. They’re also better compensated – perhaps as an indirect result of their contributions to innovation.

Here are a few of the most interesting – and exciting – top-level stats from the research:

  • In the U.S. – which the study examined – 44 million jobs are in Supply Chain, or 37% of the overall economy.
  • The average wage of Supply Chain-related jobs was much higher than average, at $61,700 – compared to $39,200 for non-Supply Chain jobs.
  • 4% of Supply Chain jobs were STEM-related jobs – considered a predictor of innovation – compared to only 2.1% of non-Supply Chain jobs.
  • 6% of new patents in the U.S. evolve from the Supply Chain sector.

The researchers chart another interesting distinction and trend, towards the importance of Supply Chain Services from traditional manufacturing. Supply Chain services jobs – including logistics, engineering, cloud computing, and others – have grown massively to encompass 80% of jobs in the sector, but most still consider Supply Chain to mean traditional manufacturing jobs such as metal stamping or injection molding operators.

Supply Chain Services workers have the highest STEM intensity out of everyone in the economy (19%), which also coincides with the highest wages ($80,800 a year, on average). This tracks with a trend in the wider economy towards services and away from traditional manufacturing, and shows what we know to be the case: despite panic about automation, Supply Chain professionals who can innovate are in very high demand.

Whether you agree or disagree with Mills and Delgado’s definitions and findings, it’s clear to anyone paying attention that the Supply Chain is a force-multiplier for innovation to the economy. It’s truer now than it’s ever been, and people who are able to harness and drive that innovation have some of the brightest job prospects in tomorrow’s economy.

Do you agree with the authors’ definition of Supply Chain? Is it too broad, not broad enough, or is it right on the money? We’re curious to hear anything else you might have to add about the importance of Supply Chain for innovation in the wider economy!

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to check out the HBR article as well as the authors’ original study, which has some fascinating insights about the role Supply Chains play in innovation.

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The Job Market is so Hot that Candidates are Ghosting Employers

The Job Market is so Hot that Candidates are Ghosting Employers

In today’s job market, companies have to compete harder than ever before and candidates, realizing their position, have begun ghosting employers. Ghosting has never been in an issue in the professional setting until now.


Highlights:

  • According to a new report, more companies and recruiters are getting ghosted, with thousands of users on LinkedIn chiming in about what seems to be a uniquely-millennial phenomenon moving into the workplace.
  • Ghosting’s prevalence speaks to a talent attraction and retention problem that many companies are having in this marketplace.
  • Recruiters who are specialized in your vertical have an established base of candidates, so you can remove ghosting from the equation entirely.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

Many of us have (thankfully) been out of the dating game long enough that we’ve never experienced what most millennials have:  the dreaded ghost. You meet someone new, hit it off, go on a few dates, maybe even tell your friends and parents about an exciting romantic prospect. Then the hammer drops: all of a sudden, radio silence.  No “dear John” letter, no break-up text, and no explanation whatsoever. It’s a digitally-enabled way of severing ties that’s so casual it hurts, because the affected (dare we say victim?) never gets to find out what exactly happened. The imagination runs wild with possible motivations for this disrespect: was it them? Was it me?

You never really know. That’s what makes it so tough.

Now, according to reports, this peculiar social phenomenon has metastasized into the workplace:

The job market is so hot, more candidates are ghosting their employers. Or prospective employers.

Welcome to 2019.

It’s no secret that the hiring market is strong, with near-historic low levels of unemployment. Now, according to a recent NPR report, more companies and recruiters are getting ghosted. It’s also become a hot topic on LinkedIn, with thousands of users chiming in about what seems to be a uniquely-millennial phenomenon moving into the workplace. Reports about ghosting even made their way into a recent report from the U.S. Federal Reserve – which shows that ghosting isn’t just a meme, but something that’s really affecting companies’ hiring practices and their bottom line.

NPR – as well as this great article by LinkedIn Contributor Molly Mosley – identify three key species of ghost:

  • The employee who accepts a role and gets into the job – thankfully, it’s not often a long-term employee, otherwise a missing person report might be in order – and leaves without a trace.
  • The job candidate who books a job interview, or accepts a role, and doesn’t show up, or send any kind of communication or response when contacted.
  • The candidate who works with a recruiter, asks to be submitted for a role, and then stops responding. There are quite a few reports about this, but we’re lucky that we haven’t experienced it as much in our recruitment practice at Argentus.

Ghosting is a very modern-feeling phenomenon. It’s a symptom of a more relaxed – dare we say, lax – approach to interpersonal and professional relationships brought about by digital technology. But it’s also a symptom of something more fundamental about this job market:

It’s a candidate’s market – especially in high-demand STEM fields like Supply Chain.

We’re willing to bet that in a recession, all these ghosts would become corporeal again. But for now, candidates have all the leverage, and what’s more, they’re beginning to realize this, which means that companies have to compete harder than ever before.

Don’t get us wrong: ghosting is unacceptable, and we don’t mean to excuse it. No one would want to hire a candidate who’s ghosted an employer in the past, and we’d stop working with anyone if we found out they’ve done it before. It’s, in short, the height of unprofessionalism. Any company who gets ghosted on has really dodged a bullet: who would want to work with someone who would resort to such a childish and cowardly tactic?

But ghosting’s prevalence still speaks to a talent attraction and retention problem that many companies are having in this marketplace. Consider this: if your company interviews someone, and never gives any form of feedback or follow-up – which still happens, believe it or not – you’re ghosting candidates as well.

It cuts both ways. And that gestures towards a few changes that companies can make to help minimize the risk of ghosting – which can waste thousands of dollars of company resources:

Smooth out the onboarding process.

In short, treat prospective candidates like a valuable strategic asset instead of a disposable endless resource. The accounts of ghosting from the workers in the NPR story, as well as others, share something in common: the workers felt disrespected or disregarded by their employers.

The accounts of ghosting from the workers in the NPR story, as well as others, share something in common: the workers felt disrespected or disregarded by their employers. Click To Tweet

Treating candidates with respect is table stakes in this hiring environment. But consider the ways that you’re unintentionally depersonalizing the hiring and onboarding process: letting it get drawn out with endless approvals and interviews, resorting to impersonal communication methods, failing to have succinct and effecting onboarding policies to get new candidates up to speed.

Lastly, because we can’t resist: a specialized recruitment partner will forward pre-vetted candidates, often ones that they’ve known for years, who you know won’t ghost. Recruiters who are specialized in your vertical have an established base of candidates, so you can remove ghosting from the equation entirely.

But what’s your experience? Have you been ghosted by an employee or job candidate before? Why do you think this issue is coming into the zeitgeist right now?

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Women Climbing Supply Chain Ranks Find a Growing Salary Gap

Women Climbing Supply Chain Ranks Find a Growing Salary Gap

Increasingly, women are pursuing careers in the supply chain. But they continue to face a salary gap — and the higher they climb, the wider it gets.


Highlights:

  • Men in the supply chain industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017.
  • Women perform at the same levels as men with the same job titles and expectations but may not be given the same opportunities to advance their careers.

It’s no secret that the supply chain and logistics sector is largely male-dominated. Over the past decade, women have increasingly pursued supply chain careers and assumed leadership roles. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, women in the industry continue to face a pay gap, and that pay gap widens as they rise through the ranks.

According to a recent study by the Institute for Supply Management, which surveyed 3,000 supply chain professionals, men in the industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017. Click To Tweet

According to a recent study by the Institute for Supply Management, which surveyed 3,000 supply chain professionals, men in the industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017. Interestingly, in higher level positions, where there are still relatively few women, the pay gap was even wider — and it was wider still between workers with the highest levels of experience. Among those who had been in the supply chain for 15 to 19 years, the study found that men earned 48% more than women with identical experience levels.

Progress?

In her article, Wall Street Journal supply chain and logistics reporter Jennifer Smith points out that there has been some progress. “The gap has narrowed slightly since 2016,” she writes, “when the disparity in salaries was 31 percentage points.” But she goes on to detail the ways in which the industry lags behind when it comes to pay equity.

Smith quotes Cory Ann Holst, senior director of data and performance management for the global business services division of snack-food giant Mondelez International Inc. “Women haven’t made near the progress that the industry wants us to think we have,” says Holst. “We all know there is a glass ceiling.”

Echoing this sobering reality-check, a compensation survey by supply chain organization APICS found an overall pay disparity, albeit smaller, with women earning an average of 16% less than their male counterparts. Abe Eshkenazi, chief executive of APICS, told Smith that “women perform at the same levels as men with the same job titles and expectations but may not be given the same opportunities to advance their careers.”

Why the gap?

While the pay disparity in the supply chain is generally in-line with that of the broader U.S. labor force, it’s still striking. So, what causes the pay gap to persist? And why does it go from a gap to a gulf at higher-level positions and greater experience levels? “Experts say a range of factors play into the gender pay gap,” writes Smith, “including discrimination and different career choices. White-collar jobs often reward people who work long hours or change positions frequently, for instance, steps some women with families may be less likely to take.”

Smith points to the career trajectory of Sana Raheem, now head of operations at the Farmer’s Dog, a subscription-based healthy pet food company in New York City. Raheem worked her way up in logistics at Kraft Heinz Co and was a senior manager of logistics and supply chain at Mondelez International. It wasn’t an easy road. “Getting there meant taking jobs in remote manufacturing facilities with a mostly-male labor force and few female role models,” writes Smith.

“I had many moments early in my career where I was told to slow down, be less aggressive, and pay my dues,” said Raheem. “I saw a lot of women around me accept similar feedback and spend years making less than their male counterparts.”

According to Robert Handfield, professor of supply chain management and executive director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management, “the industry is increasingly well suited for women. It involves identifying opportunities, thinking strategically, and working collaboratively.”

By every measure, the supply chain needs more women at all levels. It’s time to compensate them fairly.

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What’s the Best Degree for Supply Chain Management?

What’s the Best Degree for Supply Chain Management?

Supply Chain skills have never been in more demand and the work has never been more interesting. Here’s a look at the best degree for supply chain management.


Highlights:

  • Today’s supply chain professionals need to be well-versed in data analysis, presentation skills, negotiation skills, project management skills.
  • Individual career objectives and educational options can help determine the best degree.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

Supply Chain Management was seen as a back-office profession. People tended to rise from shop floors and warehouses into management roles and eventually – for the most high-performing individuals – Senior Director and C-Suite positions. It’s always been one of those fields that people “fall into.” Once they found themselves in a Supply Chain or Procurement job, people tended to look around and see how important it was to the business. They’d experience the fast pace, see the immense ten-dimensional puzzle involved in getting a product to market, the global scope, and be hooked.

It used to be a truism that no teenager decides that they want to get into Supply Chain, even those who had their sights set on the corporate world and not other paths like medicine or law. Supply Chain used to be the kid brother to other, more “glamorous” corporate functions like marketing and finance: misunderstood, transactional, and frankly thankless work.

No longer.

In 2018, Supply Chain Management is a key market differentiator for companies in industries as diverse as consumer goods, retail, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, you name it. Supply Chain skills have never been in more demand in the corporate word, and the work has never been more interesting. Many of the top companies in the world are waging a constant war for Supply Chain talent, with baby boomers retiring and strong economic growth driving demand.  Young people are starting to wake up to the huge amount of opportunity in the field.

Today’s Supply Chain professionals need to be well-versed in data analysis, presentation skills, negotiation skills, project management skills, as well as the know-it-when-you-see it overall skill of “business acumen.” Click To Tweet

At the same time, companies are increasing educational requirements, which makes sense: today’s Supply Chain professionals need to be well-versed in data analysis, presentation skills, negotiation skills, project management skills, as well as the know-it-when-you-see it overall skill of “business acumen.” In our recruitment practice, we’re noticing that more clients are requiring a university degree as a hard-and-fast requirement for jobs.

The requirement often ends there. “A degree.” Which means that there are lots of educational avenues aspiring Supply Chain professionals can take to set themselves apart from the competition. But it can be daunting: should you do an Engineering degree with a focus on Industrial Engineering? Should you do a business degree? A liberal arts degree and then an MBA? Or should you forgo a formal degree and pursue certifications like CSCMP and APICS from industry associations?

It depends. It’s hard to arrive at a definitive answer. Why is that?

  • Individual career objectives vary. For example, someone who wants to pursue a career in sourcing and Procurement will probably be better served by a business degree than an engineering degree. And someone who’s interested in Production Planning, Supply Planning, and/or Demand Planning is probably best served by a STEM degree that features a lot of quantitative analysis.
  • Educational options vary. More schools are offering Supply Chain specialties as part of MBA programs, as well as at the undergrad and college levels. More traditional programs (engineering, business, etc.) are taking steps to prepare students for careers in Supply Chain Management. But options for programs vary based on geography and the grades that any one candidate brings to the table.

That said, we still think it’s worthwhile to give some tips for people exploring their education options in the field. So we put the question to our network of established Supply Chain professionals to see what they had to say.

Here are some of the more insightful responses:

 “Engineering degree with focus in database structures and statistics can equip one with the required skills for this domain. Presently all SCM jobs require one to be able to work with ERP systems so it is nice to have understanding about the underlying concepts.”

The easiest that i can think of is Industrial Engineering which is a mix of Engineering/Mgt/commercial/statistics subjects. My degree in IE was a sound base to launch me into a SC/Logistics career. Then top it off with a certification after gaining some work experience. Certifications without some work exposure may turn to be useless. Certifications should be a source of validation of what you know in the discipline. I do hear there are schools/community colleges these days offering SC/Logistics as a degree. In all, any course that exposes and builds a person’s critical thinking skills is ok to get into supply chain.”

“Best degree would be to start working in a warehouse. Try some scheduling work also if you can. For all the value that a degree gives you, nothing beats knowing how goods flow and how truck drivers get stuff from point A to B. Do this for a year, then worry about which degree to get.”

“1) Chemical/Industrial/Mechanical Engineering 2) Economics 3) Business/Commerce with a major in finance 4) a solid liberal arts education from a university that will propel you into a top business school.

Engineering or Business provide a great foundation for logical, innovative and strategic thinking.”

Hopefully the above comments can help offer some guidance to anyone who’s interested in embarking on Supply Chain Management as a career path. There are lots of paths to go down. But whether you choose the university, college or certifications route, it’s pretty undeniable that more education is never a bad thing.

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Top 5 Talent Posts of 2018

Top 5 Talent Posts of 2018

Here are our most-viewed blog posts from 2018 about talent, including analysis of industry trends, and influencers you should be paying attention to.

New Year’s is the time for resolutions — personally and within your professional life, as well. Take a look at your company’s track record for identifying strengths and interests within your employees, and hiring and retaining great talent, and evaluate how to improve upon it.

We’ve assembled our top 5 talent posts of 2018. We hope these can be a resource to help your business overcome challenges and achieve your goals for the new year.

Top 5 talent posts of 2018

1. 6 Reasons Your Supply Chain Employees Are Looking for New Jobs

This guest post from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting examines the most likely reasons why passive candidates seek out new jobs, particularly in Supply Chain and Procurement. It’s not out of a desire for more money as often as you might think. More often than not, it’s the more intangible factors. Read more

2. 7 Supply Chain & Logistics Professionals to Follow on LinkedIn

With LinkedIn Publishing, users are able to create long-form posts and articles to communicate their  subject-matter expertise and interests. Following LinkedIn members gives you access to their profiles, as well as any original or third-party posts they publish on their newsfeeds. So your newsfeed becomes populated with the content the users you follow are publishing and sharing — meaning, if you follow the right people, you get invaluable insight into industry leaders’ thoughts and trends. Here are some of our favorite supply chain and logistics professionals to follow on LinkedIn. Read more

With LinkedIn Publishing your newsfeed becomes populated with the content the users you follow are publishing and sharing — meaning, if you follow the right people, you get invaluable insight into industry leaders’ thoughts and trends. Click To Tweet

3. Top 10 Mobile Apps for Supply Chain Professionals

Supply chain and logistics professionals are finding mobile applications to be a necessary tool these days. In an industry focused on the transport of products and goods, mobile apps are giving supply chain professionals a new freedom from the confines of their desks. Here are 10 mobile apps for supply chain professionals to be familiar with. Read more

4. Top 5 Logistics and Supply Chain Careers

With the talent gap growing wider every day, ambitious current and future supply chain professionals have many interesting opportunities. And not only that — logistics and supply chain careers are increasingly high paying. Here’s a look at five of the top logistics and supply chain careers available to today’s professionals. Read more

5. Industry Report: Supply Chain Management is Becoming Younger, More Educated, More Diverse

A major new survey shows that millennials are moving into the workforce in a big way, changing its Supply Chain’s demographics and disrupting the industry. It’s a far-reaching report with a lot of results busting down stereotypes both about Supply Chain and millennials themselves. Here were some of our biggest, and most surprising, takeaways. Read more

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Why You Should Hire People for Their Superpowers

Why You Should Hire People for Their Superpowers

Great people don’t always focus on expressing their superpowers at work out of a fear of limiting their scope. Here’s how employers can identify and coach employees to work to their fullest potential.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

In people management and hiring, we might assume that we’re emphasizing what our employees are best at. “Play to your strengths” is one of the biggest truisms of business, and life in general. If the people we’re managing – or hiring – are talented, we might assume that they’re working to their full potential in their roles. The cream rises to the top in any organization, but how often are we failing to hire and manage talented people based on what they’re truly best at?

A great new article from executive coach Whitney Johnson in the Harvard Business Review details how employers can help their teams play to their strengths. More than strengths, actually: Johnson offers strategies for identifying and coaching employees based on their superpowers – the things that come most easily, the things that those employees are not always willing to boast about.

People sometimes undervalue their own superpowers because the tasks associated with them feel “too easy” compared to hard-won skills. But let people focus on their superpowers and real opportunities for innovation start to spring forth. Click To Tweet

As Johnson puts it, people sometimes undervalue their own superpowers because the tasks associated with them feel “too easy” compared to hard-won skills. But let people focus on their superpowers and real opportunities for innovation start to spring forth.

Often you can spot superpowers in the wild; some people are such high performers that it’s obvious what they’re best at, and they’ve found their way into a role that utilizes those skills. But the HBR article makes the point that great people don’t always focus on expressing their superpowers at work out of a fear of limiting their scope. It’s rare that you find someone who’ll put what they’re truly a genius at on their resume – either out of a desire not to boast, or to present a more balanced profile.

The article identifies some strategies for managers to identify their team’s “superpowers.” They encourage managers to ask their employees a few key questions:

  • What exasperates you? Ask people if there’s anything in their job that frustrates them when other people don’t understand it easily.
  • What compliments do you dismiss? The article makes a great point that people tend to downplay the things that they’re best at – the things that come most naturally to them – out of humility or because they feel “easy.” If someone regularly dismisses compliments around a certain task or deliverable, that’s a sign that thing might be their superpower.
  • What do you think about when you have nothing to think about? In downtime, our brains regularly come back to the things that stimulate us most – the things our minds gnaw at that we can’t let go. Leaders should try to find out their employees’ fixations, because – through coaching – these can develop into passions and ultimately superpowers.

But why stop at coaching and development? We think that companies should strive to adopt this approach for hiring as well: as much as possible they should hire employees for their superpowers, rather than their ability to carry out an over-wide range of tasks.

For example, in Strategic Procurement: is someone particularly elite at communicating and building relationships? Assign them specifically to build buy-in from internal stakeholders across the business, and act as a point-person between those internal clients and the sourcing group. Leave the sourcing to those whose “superpowers” are evaluating the supplier marketplace, or negotiation, rather than structuring your department around a bunch of generalists.

Does someone have a deep understanding of a particular category, for example marketing spend, perhaps from working on the other side of the fence? Hire them for that category. These are just a few examples of how we think companies can adopt the “superheroes” approach to hiring.

Companies should tailor job descriptions towards key deliverables, and consider including the questions mentioned above in the job interview process, as a means of trying to uncover what comes easiest to job candidates – which also happens to be the areas where they’re most likely to innovate.

Budgets, organizational structure, and directives from senior leadership will often be impediments to this approach, but specialization is the name of the game in improving efficiency, which is after all what Supply Chain Management and Procurement are all about.

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