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Young Pros Eye Supply Chain Careers

September 27, 2021

Young professionals are seeking out roles in the supply chain to help make a difference, take advantage of a variety of opportunities, and experience the fast pace and challenges of keeping supply chains running on time.

Nearly all respondents (99%) taking part in the 2021 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Young Professionals Report, which was authored by Korn Ferry and presented by Penske Logistics, said the supply chain field is a good career choice.

The survey, which was released during CSCMP EDGE in Atlanta on September 21, collected responses from hundreds of supply chain professionals 30 and under. Additionally, 95% of respondents said they are excited to have a career in the supply chain field and 97% said they would recommend others consider supply chain as a career.

"As a leading employer, these results are very encouraging as we seek to recruit, hire and develop a diverse group of future supply chain leaders," stated Karyn Troxell, vice president of human resources at Penske Logistics. "The pandemic has clearly elevated society's attention to careers in the supply chain and it has also resonated with a purpose-driven generation of young professionals working in our industry."

This year, 58% of respondents said they chose to pursue a supply chain career due to the impact supply chain roles have in business and their tangible impact on outcomes. This is a significant increase from the 13% who cited this reason in 2019 and the 10% who noted it in 2017. The number of respondents entering the industry due to first-hand exposure, 38%, also increased over previous studies.

Melissa Hadhazy, senior client partner for Korn Ferry: "Supply chain has become a dinner conversation in peoples' homes. That is getting people interested in degrees in the supply chain, and it has opened their eyes to the tech companies and how they can support supply chains."

Troxell and Hadhazy, along with Nichole Mumford, vice president of marketing, engagement and education at CSCMP, and Kimberlee Owens, vice president of supply chain at Fifth Season, took part in a panel discussion during CSCMP Edge discussing the report's results.

Young supply chain professionals said they are eager to continue their education on the job, and 95% of respondents expressed excitement for their development track and training opportunities. Young professionals generally remain satisfied with the compensation they receive, with 86% saying they earn enough to live on, 75% saying they are comfortable, and 48% saying they are well paid.

Overall, respondents reported that they are happy with their current employers, and they said they are staying at their current employer due to the work environment-culture or co-workers (60%), development opportunities (60%), and the salary and benefits (53%).

Among respondents, 82% said they have worked in a supply chain position previously, which shows the industry retains talent reasonably well with young professionals moving to new positions within the field. Development opportunities and salary-benefits increases are the top reasons respondents reported applying for a position at another employer.

According to the survey, supply chain roles are being elevated within organizations, which is expected to bring more attention to the roles and could increase the number of young professionals that enter and remain in the supply chain industry.

"We are very pleased to produce a report that reflects the needs and aspirations of our talented young professionals at CSCMP," stated Mumford. "We are proud to support the next generation of logistics leaders."

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