What has changed over the past two years, and what is next for supply chain leadership hiring?

Recruitment trends for supply chain leaders across all industries and regions can vary significantly, so I am careful to avoid generalising. Nevertheless, a few potential trends have come to the fore over the past two years:

The global pandemic highlighted the importance of efficient and resilient supply chains, and we are not out of the woods yet. Over the past two years, this has led to a phenomenal increase in demand for skilled supply chain professionals in several important functional areas. Much of the overall focus of companies has been on finding ways to accelerate supply chain improvement projects. I want to highlight three significant points which I am sure will be beneficial for employers and individual leaders alike, based on my own experience gained from search mandates that I have led over the past two years.

1. There is now a greater emphasis on digital experience in supply chain leadership recruitment.

I do not use the term “digital transformation” here, and this is deliberate. The supply chain leaders that we are helping organisations to attract are people who have demonstrated the ability to step back from the digital element and focus first on whether the right foundations are in place – in other words, the people and processes. These supply chain leaders have truly walked the walk, and in most cases, have experienced first-hand the ramifications of getting something wrong when implementing new systems to improve end-to-end supply chain operations.

2. Focus on sustainability and social responsibility in supply chains is being taken very seriously.

This focus is being driven by consumers and investors who have become increasingly aware of issues, and it has in turn influenced recruitment in the supply chain sector. Many companies have been looking for leaders who have enough prior experience to help them to address these issues and meet the evolving expectations of their stakeholders.

3. A move towards a more diverse mix in supply chain leadership teams is happening right now.

Companies have been looking to diversify their supply chain leadership teams by bringing in different perspectives and experiences gained in other regions or sectors. This has led to an increased focus on diversity in the supply chain search mandates that we have completed.

In short, companies need to bring onboard supply chain leaders who know what good looks like.

Overall, these are just three of the trends that have emerged over the past two years. Of course, it is important to note that these trends may not apply to all industries and regions, and that recruitment trends can vary significantly depending on a range of factors.

Supply Chain Outlook 2023

One major impact over the past two years has been the disruption to logistics networks. This has led to supply chain bottlenecks, and made it difficult for companies to get the raw materials and components they need to manufacture their products. As companies battle to find better ways to manage their supply chain networks, the increasing complexity of global supply chains will continue to challenge supply chain leaders in 2023. As companies look to reduce their reliance on a single supplier or transportation route, they are turning to more diverse and complex supply chains. Without suitable leadership teams in place, it will be more difficult to manage and coordinate these supply chains and increase the risk of disruptions.

Do you have the right leadership in place to drive success? Are you ready to start the discussions which would determine the critical competencies that your organisation needs to remain competitive in 2023 and beyond? Does your supply chain experience reveal other 2023 highlights?

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