This was a central theme of the NPX keynote by Don Klock, Clinical Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management & Marketing Science at Rutgers Business School, a Senior Global Procurement / Supply Chain Executive with over 30 years of experience with multiple major multinationals, including Colgate Palmolive.
Even though unemployment is still near a fifty-five (55) year plus all time high, which was around 10.5% back in the early 80s, it’s becoming harder and harder to fill vacant positions due to the shift in the North American economy which resulted in most Blue Collar jobs being outsourced and the need for more highly skilled white collar workers than the North American economy has traditionally produced. Couple this with declining birth rates in the developed and developing world (even though the global population just hit 7 Billion) and a relatively constant number of University graduates over the last 5 years in North America (approximately 3 Million a year in the US, which is less than 1% of the US population attaining a University degree each year), and the problem starts to take shape. There’s not enough blue collar jobs for those without college degrees, and more jobs that require college degrees and experience than there are college graduates to fill them. When you break down the unemployment rate, as this article in MarketWatch on the white-collar recession, blue-collar depression did last year, when the official overall U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6%, and the “underemployment” rate topped 17%, you find that unemployment is less than 4.5% among college graduates vs about 10.8% for those with a high-school diploma and 14.3% for those without one.
This is largely due to the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs, which have decreased 40% over the last 20 years. The jobs that remain are outsourcing and supply chain management, which involve a lot of skill, experience, and education — which a large percentage of the U.S. population does not have. That’s why we have large multinationals with 500 jobs and no one to fill them!
That’s why, as Don says, the demand for suitably qualified procurement professionals is on the rise and the job of retention and recruiting talent is much more difficult than it has been historically. And that’s why, if your organization is to survive the supply chain talent war, it needs a supply chain resource strategy. Without one, your organization will be left in the dust as your competitors acquire the limited supply of talent that is currently available.
So what should you do? We’ll discuss Don’s suggestion in our next post on the talent gap.