The economic outlook may still be uncertain, but the outlook for those seeking supply chain positions appears positive. Just under half of the 430 respondents in eyefortransport's Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Strategy Survey 2011-2012 report said that their companies are currently recruiting supply chain professionals. That represents a notable increase from last year, when a similar study found that only 35 percent of respondents' companies were looking for recruits. Respondents were located in North America and Europe.
One thing that didn't change since last year was respondents' difficulty in getting a handle on demand. For the second consecutive year, demand variability (forecasting) was the number one challenge cited by respondents; this year 49 percent put that at the top of their list. The second most frequently reported challenge was cost containment and reduction, cited by 42 percent. Escalating customer requirements and inventory management and optimization, cited by 39 percent, tied for third place.
The vast majority of survey respondents—89 percent—said that the perceived business value of the supply chain had increased within their companies during the economic downturn. Still, only 56 percent said that "supply chain head" either already is or would become a board-level position in their company within the next two years.