A seasoned supply chain management veteran has shared advice on how to recruit the top talent for vacant supply chain jobs.

Former supply chain manager turned college academic Rich Weissman emphasises that times like the present, with heightened concern about the risk to supply chains of the coronavirus, US trade tariffs and the Brexit process in Europe, illustrate how supply chain jobs have soared in status.

Not long ago, they were lowly operations support – today, they’re a top-tier business necessity.

Their new status is reflected in rising pay for permanent practitioners and supply chain interims alike, while universities are upgrading their supply chain programmes at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

All of which boils down to an important question, posed by Weissman like this: “What can a company do to attract, engage and retain professional staff?”

Specialist supply chain recruitment agencies can play a pivotal role here.

Weissman urges firms to acknowledge that practitioners in today’s supply chain jobs are no longer one-size-fits-all employees.

Those specialising in the data analysis side of supply chain management will need a different set of skills to those focusing on supplier quality audits. 

He says that firms should, therefore, bring their strategic sourcing abilities to play in clarifying what the talent make-up of their supply chain staff should be to align properly with company objectives.

Secondly, because of this differentiation between various specialisms in supply chain jobs, firms need to be very clear about the specific skill sets required.

Demanding a career’s worth of skills for an entry-level or mid-level role will often deter the very talent one wants to attract (who wants a massive workload on a lower pay scale?).

Human resources colleagues can help in defining a realistic and attractive initial posting to capture the interest of potential employees.

Finally, Weissman emphasises the importance of company reputation: companies that are known to treat employees well, offering good career progression pathways and a great working environment, will attract the best candidates.

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