As staff shortages continue to be a major problem across the supply chain sector, many leaders are wondering what they can do differently to secure the best possible talent for their business.
From my perspective as Pace’s Senior Recruitment Consultant for Supply Chain, Logistics and Procurement, a great starting point is to get up to speed and gain an in depth understanding of exactly where these recruitment and retention challenges lay. The main point here is understanding what exactly employees and potential candidates are looking for. What is most important to them? And what are your competitors doing to attract, that you’re not?
Here, I’d like to share my overview of the supply chain sector, covering some of its most pertinent talent acquisition challenges as well as a few solutions in an attempt to help you not only secure the staff you need, but retain the quality personnel you already have within your business.
The supply chain sector is experiencing its fair share of staff shortages right now, particularly in Warehouse and Admin staff, Customer Service professionals and Mid-Level Coordinators.
These shortages, combined with rising costs of living and additional increased pressures on Australian onshore manufacturing, have resulted in an upward salary trajectory.
According to our most recent industry salary survey, all four supply chain specialties we recruit for have seen a big jump in salaries (Manufacturing and Technical Operations, Procurement, Sales and Customer Service, and Supply Chain and Logistics). The highest was the Manufacturing and Technical Operations sector with 61% of employees receiving a pay bump in the last year.
In this climate, it is crucial to review your salary and benefit offerings. Determine if you’re keeping pace with industry rates, as well as whether you can exceed them to attract and retain staff. One of our Supply chain recruitment agency specialists can help you out with current rates, as a key part of our role is to survey the market actively and consistently.
When it comes to benefits, our recent research should pique your interest. We asked employees in each Supply chain to rate their benefit priorities, alongside what they’re currently being offered by their employer. Here’s the top five by sector to help you shape your offerings:
Manufacturing and Technical Operations
Sales and Customer Service
Supply chain and logistics
During the months of May and June, the Federal government will be consulting state and territory governments, and key stakeholders such as unions and business groups, on the outline of the proposed strategy and these critical policy shifts. It will be very interesting to see what comes of this.
The government aims to unveil the ultimate migration strategy later in 2023, which could potentially have a massive impact on Australia's employment landscape. For a more detailed understanding of what this might entail, please refer to the following link.
Many of the candidates I speak to on a daily basis are saying the same thing – ‘I don’t want to work five days a week in the office’. Our salary survey results support this with flexible working hours and WFH or hybrid working opportunities sitting in the top three candidate priorities across all four sectors.
It seems plenty of supply chain leaders are taking note of this trend. Just over 60% are increasing work flexibility to give employees a say in how, when or where their work’s completed. While I know it’s difficult to offer employees the chance to work from home in the supply chain sector, you can do a lot when it comes to:
It’s a smart move to spend a time reviewing these areas, as well as getting some input from your team about their wishes. You can then consider whether you can tweak your working conditions to align with what employees and potential want. It’s just one way to stay a step ahead of your competitors. Consistency is key also. Initial conversations often fall on deaf ears, proposals can often be shallow and forgotten about. It is crucial to consistently check in with your employees to understand where everything is at and how things may have changed before it’s too late.
I’m currently seeing a lot of candidates moving positions with one of the key reasons being their frustration working with companies with outdated systems, such as ERP systems.
Obviously, there are cost and time constraints, however if you are in the position to, it is definitely worth reviewing your procedures and processes constantly, as well as investigating if you can utilise tech to address inefficiencies and streamline your systems. While this will benefit your employees in their daily tasks, it should also allow you to increase your business agility and retain staff who view this working benefit as a high priority.
Another area to look at, and the most obvious of all, is of course; company culture. Management and leadership drive this, and from my perspective, it doesn’t always have to be so deep. One of the most common conversations I have with my candidates is around progression and growth. A positive culture strives to develop and simply outlines growth. Another key take away from our salary survey, and an issue many of you are aware of coming out the back of Covid, is that we got consistent feedback about candidates feeling burnt out, especially throughout Supply Chain and Logistics departments.
While the workload will always be there, you can do a lot as an empathetic leader to help your employees. It might be allowing more flexibility. Or it could be nurturing communication by promoting an open-door policy, encouraging feedback and actioning it where you can. Another focus might be a commitment to increasing your reward and recognition efforts.
The Supply chain sector has also made huge strides when it comes to sustainability. But it’s a good move to keep up these efforts, especially as it’s one of the prime motivators for Gen Z and Gen Y candidates and employees.
Many of our clients are continuing to face the burden of now holding of excess stock, especially those in apparel and consumer goods, as sales decrease from pandemic boom times. While shipping and freight costs appear to be back to somewhat normal levels, there are still plenty of obstacles facing the supply chain, with the war in Ukraine still continuing to be a major issue.
In this environment, it’s important to look at ways of shoring up your Supply chain resilience. It might be looking to tech, it might be focusing on planning, analysis and negotiation, or it could be ensuring you build stronger relationships with your suppliers.
I hope you’ve found this overview of the challenges in the Supply chain sector helpful, as well as the suggestions and solutions offered.
Helping my clients with their talent acquisition needs, as well as supporting them to retain the valued staff they have, is a key part of my role. It’s one I thoroughly enjoy, so if you need further assistance in any of these areas, please reach out to me directly. I’d love to help you out.