Does the Fate of the Supply Chain Industry Rest in the Hands of Millennials?

Every day, more than 12,000 Millennials become adults. This is an impressive number until you remember that the demographic is currently estimated at being comprised of over 80 million people, according to the U.S Bureau statistics.

Millennials, individuals born between the years 1980-1999, are now almost all adults. This means that if they are not currently in a career path, then they are most likely seeking one.
Millennials Are Not Booming to get a 3PL Job like Baby Boomers
The reason why this is important is because the supply chain logistics industry has something of a talent shortage in North America at the moment. This is a problem that will be made worse once more Baby Boomers retire as they are critically important to the industry: they make up the majority of supply chain management positions. Even if the talent shortage didn’t exist, Millennials are still predicted to make up about 75% of the workforce by 2025. That’s only 9 years for potential entry-level employees who need to be hired, trained and mentored before they can rise to the ranks of upper management—and that takes time.
With more and more Baby Boomers retiring, logistics companies will need to Millennials to fill in the gaps. However, the recruiting and retention strategies are not the same for both groups and even with this knowledge, this is still where many companies are lagging behind.
For example, EyeforTransport asked various logistics companies what impact Millennials are having on their supply chains.
Millenials Search for Meaning Beyond Their Role
When asked if the respondent’s company was prepared for a future change in workforce…ie. hiring more millennials, the following results were reported in their “Q1 2016 Hot Trends in Supply Chain and Logistics Report“.
  • 36% said yes, they have adjusted their on-boarding to reflect millennial values – technology, innovation, data-driven, ownership, etc.
  • 25.5% said yes, and there is no need to change our current practices of on-boarding
  • 17.6% said no, but they have plans in place to do something to ensure our business is aligned with this workforce
  • 12.1% said no, and they don’t have a plan as of yet
  • 8.8% answered they didn’t know
When it comes to hiring and retaining Millennials, several articles give lists that are built around two-way communication between the employee (or prospective employee) and the company.
Millennials are very interested in job perks but not necessarily the ones that traditionally come to mind such as set annual raises and a structured schedule. Instead, a job that provides the employee a rewarding challenge built on problem solving and with a clear indication of the value of the role is much more appealing to a Millennial employee.
Flexibility is also another job perk that is of interest to Millennials and not just in regards to hours. Flexibility in workload is very important as Millennials are used to a culture of collaboration and communication of ideas from everyone, not just from those at the top.
As Millennials make up more and more of the workplace (between 25 – 50% at some companies), it will be critical that supply chain companies not just entice them to sign on, but also to adapt their retention strategies toward a mutually beneficial arrangement built on communication and innovation.
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