Supply chain recruitment agencies seeking talent for new-gen supply chain jobs (especially supply chain management roles) should train their focus on Millennials, who show the exact right mix of interpersonal and tech-savvy skills that contemporary businesses now champion.

In a new article for MH&Lmagazine (Material, Handling and Logistics), journalist Adrienne Selko charts the rise of cutting edge technology such as robotics, Big Data manipulation, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, all of it capable of vastly outperforming human computational capabilities and automating activities that were once exclusively human.

But the need for human intervention remains: it’s just shifted from the laborious to the sophisticatedly cognitive, including the immense degree of cognitive talent and spontaneity needed for supply chain management: negotiating, problem-solving, creative innovation, leadership, strategic thinking, speaking one’s mind truthfully but tactfully, an ability to work in teams and an understanding of the multiple cultures that are involved in today’s complex supply chains.

A new skill mix has been born: candidates seeking today’s supply chain jobs must understand the technology that’s transforming the role out of all recognition, while offering the interpersonal skills needed to extract the best value and overcome procurement problems.

Commenting on these developments, Cheri Speier‐Pero, department chair of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University said that Millennials – the largest generation of workers – have career preferences and multi-cultural experiences that align nearly perfectly with these requirements. They just need to be persuaded that supply chain jobs offer these preferences in spades.

She told Selko that feedback from employers who had hired students from her university’s Supply Chain Management programme reported high levels of satisfaction with their “roll-up-their-sleeves attitude, coupled with their end-to-end worldview. They view things from a higher level.”

Emphasising that supply chain management is the ideal career choice for younger professionals, she added, “You are touching the lifeblood of the organization. You are doing foundation work that is influencing how decisions are made.”

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