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June 24, 2017
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While overall U.S. job growth weakens, demand for supply chain managers remains strong

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While overall U.S. job growth weakens, demand for supply chain managers remains strong

When the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its most recent report on the employment situation, the news was not promising. Job growth had slowed, and wage growth had stalled. The story for supply chain management and logistics positions, however, was much more positive, according to Tisha Danehl, vice president at Ajilon Professional Staffing, which has been growing its supply chain placement practice since 2012.

"[In supply chain and logistics] we are still continuing to see a strong market for job seekers," said Danehl. "On the national and general level, it's true that we didn't add as many jobs as predicted. But if you look at the BLS predictions specifically for logistics jobs, those are still predicted to grow 22 percent."

In particular, Danehl says, jobs growth in the transportation industry shows no signs of slowing down. She says that year over year, the U.S. transportation industry has gained more than 52,500 jobs. "It's good to be in supply chain and logistics right now," she says.

Ajilon focuses mostly on helping companies hire mid-level managers, for positions such as logistics coordinator, pricing analyst, and transportation manager, according to Danehl. She says that her company is seeing particularly strong demand for people who have three to five years of experience and possess strong math or data analysis skills and/or engineering and process improvement skills.

Danehl does say that supply chain hiring managers are typically more open than their counterparts in other fields to reviewing candidates who do not possess the specific skills they are looking for. As a group, they understand that the supply of candidates is tight and are not fixated on hiring the perfect candidate, she observes. For example, they may be open to hiring an engineer who has strong math skills and project management experience but who may not possess direct supply chain experience.

For companies that are having a hard time filling positions, Danehl suggests implementing an employee referral program and taking full advantage of networking events through industry groups such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. "And if you haven't taken a close look at your employee engagement and retainment [practices], I would strongly recommend that you do so," she says. "With demand continuing to grow, you don't want lose your own people. I would say just as important as hiring good people is retaining good people."

Susan Lacefield is Senior Editor of CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly.

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