Your organization’s most valuable asset

Over the past few years, we’ve used our June issue to address the importance of continuing education and the steps logistics management professionals can take to help recruit, nurture and retain the single most valuable asset of any organization—its people.

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However, during several of the industry conferences this spring, I had multiple conversations about what many are now calling a “labor crisis” in our industry. Sure, we’ve been covering the ongoing truck driver shortage for years as well as the need for a “youth movement” in the industry, but we’ve yet to draw attention to the growing shortage of talent needed to occupy the mid-and senior-level management positions that we now need to lead more dynamic logistics and supply chain teams.

I was surprised to find that according to a survey conducted by late last year of 360 logistics industry participants, 46% ranked finding the mid-level manager as “difficult,” but 73% ranked finding the executive level as “most difficult.” And, according to Logistics Management’s 2018 Salary Survey, it’s that mid-to executive-level employee who’s pulling in a prettydecent salary—between $109,000 for an operations manager title and up to $187,000 for a vice president or general manager level title. Isn’t the hope of a bigger salary through the years enough to keep good people around?

“The growth of e-commerce and the use of technology to make it all work is stripping away that blue-collar mantel and increasing the white-collar appeal, so I was certainly heartened to hear educators and analysts report that logistics is becoming a more mainstream career path for new graduates entering the workforce,” says , author of this month’s Logistics Management cover story. “However, the game has changed in terms of retaining this new breed of employee—and salary alone isn’t going to keep them engaged.”

As McCrea reports, supply chain and logistics organizations have been caught off-guard by this current labor shortage hitting just about every rung of the logistics and supply chain ladder, from inside the four walls of the DC, to the cabs of our trucks, to the cubicles in our offices, all the way to the corner office.

“So, the bad news is that now most logistics organizations have fallen well behind on attracting and retaining new talent and lack the resources they need to fill available positions,” McCrea says. Adding to that, the estimates logistics jobs will grow by 26% between 2010 and 2020—a number that may be impossible to keep up with on the current path. The time to turn the tables on the talent gap is now.

With the help of , a staffing agency serving the supply chain and logistics industries, McCrea gives readers a list of tips that can help change the way organizations are thinking about recruitment and retention. “Ideas like streamlining the hiring process to not miss out on valuable talent, offering flex time, creating formal mentorship programs, and making the recruiting message more friendly and focused on women are just a few,”
says McCrea.

“As we’ve learned through our research, salary alone is no longer enough to retain valuable people. Today we need to nurture, develop and create a healthier
work environment.”

About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of American Truck Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [ protected]

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