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Making up the Supply Chain Talent Gap

The logistics industry uses supply chain management to procure goods and resources and deliver them to customers all over the world, on an extremely large scale. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates the U.S. transportation system will move roughly 20.3 billion tons of freight in 2023, valued at $20.3 trillion. Globe Newswire reports that the global logistics market size hit roughly $10.68 trillion in 2023 and is expected to grow to $18.23 trillion by 2032. According to American Trucking Associations, nearly eight million people were employed in jobs related to trucking activity in 2021, let alone employment related to the many other components of the supply chain.

While the interrelated industries that collectively form the supply chain are unquestionably massive, talent shortages exist throughout, from delivery and warehouse staff to upper-level supply chain management positions. The shortages and challenges impacting the supply chain became abundantly clear during the most disruptive periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the supply chain evolves, so do the skills and expertise supply chain managers need to be effective, especially amidst disruption — be it a pandemic, globalization or technological innovation. As a result, companies are desperately recruiting for hard-to-fill jobs due to the complexity of the work.

An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Supply Chain Logistics Management program can help meet this talent gap. This type of degree program prepares students to navigate the demands of an exciting, complicated and constantly changing field. Students learn how to analyze supply chain problems, develop effective and agile solutions, evaluate a company’s background from various perspectives, build resilience into supply chains and expand leadership and teamwork capabilities.

What Is Supply Chain Management?

TechTarget defines supply chain management as “the optimization of a product’s creation and flow from raw material sourcing to production, logistics and delivery to the final customer.” This includes and integrates a vast array of processes, sub-industries and, increasingly, advanced, specialized information systems and software.

Working with suppliers, understanding international trade regulations and tapping procurement expertise are among the components of supply chain management. Additionally, being savvy about information technology and working well with customers, team members and others are all essential skills in the industry.

Many Vacant Supply Chain Job Openings

As older workers retire, younger ones are just starting to hear about supply chain management, which operates largely unseen due to the nature of the work — at least until components of the supply chain fail, as they did due to a confluence of factors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond attrition, advancing supply chain management technologies, ever-growing global supply chain networks and regular disruption demand a new breed of supply chain professionals with cutting edge knowledge and skills — and a flexible, agile mindset.

In this, it is the rapidly changing landscape of supply chain management that is driving the need for more highly-skilled supply chain professionals and leaders. Employers are increasingly looking for supply chain experts who specialize in areas like vendor management, demand planning, inventory planning, sourcing and procurement. Qualified applicants are also needed in areas like robotics, analytics and engineering. Plus, the booming industry of third-party supply chain management companies need to fill positions of every type — marketers, data analysts and human resources managers, among other roles.

Good Career Path; High Job Growth

The ongoing digital revolution in the global e-commerce market certainly challenged supply chains to the breaking point during the pandemic. But e-commerce is also spiking job growth in the industry. Companies have to rework their supply chains to meet rapidly changing demands for products in a matter of weeks, not years. Customers also have changing expectations, driving trends like green logistics and expedited last mile delivery.

This drives the need for labor, increased automation and expert logistics and supply chain leaders who can navigate current markets. Accordingly, job growth in these areas is extremely high, even as the talent shortage continues. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of logisticians to increase 28% between 2021 and 2031, placing this job role on BLS’ list of the fastest growing occupations.

MBA Students Get Great Compensation

In addition to high job growth projections, supply chain management and related industries also offer steady career paths that pay very well. ZipRecruiter estimates the average salary for a supply chain manager at over $102,000 as of June, 2023.

Supply chain management salaries vary by position, location, company and education level, as do most professions. MBA graduates with a supply chain focus work in a variety of roles, including the aforementioned supply chain specialist positions as well as operations manager, logistician, commodity manager, supply chain analyst and chief supply chain officer — all of which can lead to six-figure salaries.

Global Is the Word of the Day

Global markets are the norm, and working in supply chain management requires an international perspective since the U.S. both exports its products and imports goods from other countries. Successful supply chain professionals operate with a large mental framework and know how to work with people from all over the world.

Online Programs Can Help Make up the Talent Gap

Gearing up for a supply chain management career is another reason to check out an online MBA program focused on supply chain logistics management. Students will gain a solid overview of marketing, accounting, global logistics, business and public policy. They will gain the practical skills needed to face real-world business problems, such as:

  • Analyzing problems
  • Developing effective solutions
  • Creating sound logistics processes
  • Understanding the global marketplace
  • Leveraging modern supply chain technologies and information systems

The U.S. logistics and supply chain management industries are massive and in need of more highly trained professionals with 21st century skills. Graduates with an MBA in supply chain management are prime candidates to fill the employment gaps and move the supply chain field forward.

Learn more about the University of West Florida online MBA with an emphasis in Supply Chain Logistics Management program.

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