It’s a Great Time To Be a Supply Chain Major!

In the midst of all of the news about supply chain shortages and problems at ports, there is a silver lining in all of this; the demand for supply chain students to solve these problems has never been greater!  In our most recent supply chain career fair, we had 45 companies attending, 164 student candidates attending, and more than 592 one-on-one interviews taking place!  And many of the employers I spoke with said they’d like to find more!

The recruiting event reflects what is going on across the country.  A study conducted by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team, compared recent job-switching patterns (July through September 2021) with the same three-month period in 2019. All told, more than 700,000 career moves were analyzed. Logistics ranked No. 1 among industries attracting people who previously worked in other sectors. Transportation and logistics has seen a 34.9% increase in career switchers coming into the field — but also a 30.8% rise in people leaving this industry to try something different.

Paul Mulvey, our expert on human resources and recruiting, commented on this situation.  “I’m hearing from recruiters and HR professionals that these types of positions have been in demand across industries affected by the Great Resignation.  In addition, the “Great Reshuffle” is here,” he said.

Paul also provided a number of tips for students and alumni, stating that, “in areas with higher demand, now is a great time to see if a career or concentration change is for you.  Salaries are rising and the bar may be lower for desperate employers.  Focus on your skills/competencies that are transferable across industries and occupations.”

For example, I have been speaking with a number of healthcare providers, such as Vizient (a large GPO), Owens and Minor (a big healthcare distributor) and Johns Hopkins Hospital (one of the biggest research hospitals in the country).  All of these organizations are clamoring for students who are interested in working in procurement, logistics and inventory planning.  These are very well-paying jobs, and there is a big opportunity to really make a difference in helping the community that continues to struggle with the COVID crisis.

Also, check out this blog post written by a 20-year veteran truck driver, which discusses the many inherent challenges that face our economy because of a congested supply chain.  The author notes that this is a long-term problem, stating, “There is no ‘cavalry’ coming. No trucking companies are going to pay to register their trucks to haul containers for something that is supposedly so ‘short term,’ because these same companies can get higher rate loads outside the ports.”  In other words, this is a long-term issue that will require some really smart people to help figure it out!

Likewise, I was invited to sit in on a meeting of the White House Economic Advisors Committee led by Sue Helper.  One of the key messages that came out of this meeting with senior supply chain academics from all over the country was that we need to improve the integration between land and sea — that is, between ocean carriers, truckers, warehouses, DC’s, and retail stores.  This is not something that can be fixed easily, but will require ten years or more of product and process analytics, by smart, aspiring people.  That’s where you come in!

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact us!

Rob Handfield
Professor of Supply Chain Management