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ASCM Insights

The Supply Chain “Multiplier Effect” Reveals Clear Opportunity


Earlier this month, I wrote about being in the midst of the Great Supply Chain Disruption. Now, a report from e-learning platform Coursera says we’re facing another “Great”: the Great Resignation. In fact, more than half of employees globally may soon consider leaving their jobs if they are not offered enough flexibility regarding work hours and locales.

The top reasons behind the Great Resignation are about what you’d expect: worker burnout and lack of job growth. “The pandemic saddled employees with additional domestic responsibilities, blurred work-life boundaries, and added stress to frontline workers and remote workers alike,” the report states. “Many people are in fact rethinking what type of work they are willing to do and where they want to live, commute and balance their lives.”

The plethora of remote work opportunities proves that you don’t have to be in an office to be productive. Many people have moved closer to family or where there’s a lower cost of living. Some are finding that they prefer working during certain core hours and then logging on a bit in the morning and evening, or even on the weekend, to complete projects. It’s no surprise that individuals want and expect this type of flexibility going forward.

The conundrum, of course, is that we have workers leaving their jobs in droves while the world is grappling with a labor shortage. The Center of Global Development predicts that Europe will have 95 million fewer workers in 2050 than in 2015. Currently in Australia, 27% of businesses are struggling to find employees, mainly because of a lack of applicants.

But the Coursera report also uncovers a potential solution: Train a workforce that’s more digitally savvy. The company tracked the proficiency of its learners across 10 different fields and found that each industry experienced a rise in the need for digital skills in 2020. In fact, the acceleration was so substantial that Microsoft says two years’ worth of transformation was achieved in just two months.

In particular, Coursera rates manufacturing number one in cutting-edge proficiencies across skill domains. Manufacturing is also first in the business and technology domains and fifth in data science. These points give supply chain a competitive edge as we keep evolving and innovating. Plus, as jobs become more technical, according to Coursera, they also “become more flexible, pay better and provide more growth opportunities.” And that pretty much covers the top reasons why workers are choosing to quit.

A world of opportunity

Despite the Great Resignation, supply chain professionals continue to feel satisfied and well-rewarded in their careers. According to the ASCM 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report, 70% of respondents rate their satisfaction as an 8 or higher. Nearly 90% would recommend supply chain as a fulfilling professional path for others. In addition, supply chain professionals are commanding excellent incomes. The typical starting salary is $60,000, and the median is $86,000 — with APICS-certified individuals earning even 27% more than that. 

Yet Coursera finds that manufacturing faces significant difficulty filling workforce needs, both entry-level and skilled. And because the industry has the “highest multiplier effect of any economic sector” — for every $1 spent, another $2.74 is added to the economy — the bottom-line impact of a labor shortage is considerable.

Now is the perfect moment to cultivate the supply chain workforce of the future, and ASCM is here to help. Our Virtual Career Fair is Wednesday, September 22, 9 a.m.-noon CDT. This free, members-only event connects job-seekers with employers from Akzo Nobel, Baker Hughes, Boeing, Comcast, Deloitte, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Novartis, and many more. Participants can join from anywhere via desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone to connect with company representatives via one-on-one video meetings or text-based chats. In addition, ASCM staff will be online for career coaching and resume enhancement.

You can help us make supply chain even stronger and, in so doing, help create a better world. Take a moment to share this with someone you know who would make meaningful contributions to the field and thrive as a supply chain professional.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through

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