Opportunity knocks

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It can hardly be unexpected given the rampant growth in China over the past few years:  supply chain executives in large companies say it is getting more and more difficult to hire and retain talented white collar employees.

A study by Dr Hau Lee for SCM World found that rising labour costs and poaching are the biggest concerns in China – and the country is now regarded as the riskiest market for talent in the world.

A skills shortage in supply chain is hardly a new issue. Two years ago, the MIT Centre for Transport and Logistics produced a report entitled: “Are you prepared for the supply chain talent crisis?”

Author Ken Cottrill warned: “Supply chain faces a severe shortage of talent at a time when the demands on the profession have never been greater. Globalisation, market uncertainty, shifting demographic patterns, and the emergence of supply chain as a strategic function are some of the factors that are driving the skills shortfall.”

However, the situation in China has implications not simply for recruitment and professional development – but also for how the country is perceived as a location to do business.

“China is clearly no longer a low-cost country in the traditional sense,” warned SCM World’s Kevin O’Marah. “The implications for talent management in a global supply chain strategy include a need to diversify away from Asia, and China in particular.”

But perhaps a better way of looking at it is this: there are bound to be some great opportunities for talented supply chain professionals.


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