APICS, the professional association for supply chain management, said it is time to change the perception of millennials in the supply chain and workplace. A new survey released by APICs shows that millennials are becoming a critical segment of the supply chain workforce and they “are focused, engaged, enthused and committed to working in supply chain management.”
The report, Millennials in Supply Chain, indicates that the supply chain is a long-term career choice for professionals in their 20s and 30s. The numbers reveal that 81 percent of survey respondents believe they can make a difference in the supply chain, and 88 percent said there are opportunities to advance in the field.
Millennials have an interest in the supply chain, completing coursework, internships and higher degrees in supply chain management or logistics with the intent of continuing to work in the field. Seventy-five percent of respondents began their careers in supply chain management, and 60 percent are still working in the same area in which they started their careers.
“The results of the report are eye-opening, especially when compared to the more senior supply chain professionals in leadership positions, who were part of a previous study from APICS and SCMR in 2016,” said APICS CEO, Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CAE, CPA, in a statement. “We see that more millennials started their career in supply chain, are moving around less, are highly satisfied with their jobs and see more opportunities for advancement in the field.”
Although millennials show a wide interest in activities across the supply chain, design and planning (72%) holds the most appeal and reaches all areas of the supply chain. Other areas of interest include demand planning and forecasting (58%), business intelligence and analytics (54%), inventory management (53%) and lean management (51%).
Millennials also find their careers personally rewarding – 87% said the field helps with their personal growth and development.
What’s most important to them about the field and their employers? Diversity. Eighty-five percent said the supply chain involves a diverse workforce and encompasses people of all types. As an example, the gender gap is closing – survey respondents were 61 percent male and 39 percent female, compared to 76 percent male and 24 percent female for a senior supply chain survey last year.
Technology also is important, they said. Sixty-six percent said working in the supply chain enables them to work with new technologies.
There is one issue that remains the same among the different age groups. There is a pay gap between males and females, which becomes wider as millennials advance in their careers.
The report also finds that management relationships is a big area of frustration. Nearly one-quarter of respondents are frustrated by the attitude towards millennials by older generations, and feel disconnected from the big picture or lack of purpose in the workplace. Other concerns include a lack of mentor or hands-on guidance (22%), a lack of recognition (21%), and micromanagement from leadership (20%).
“Despite some noted frustrations, millennials are continuous learners and fast movers who are eager to advance,” Eshkenazi said. “To address the ongoing skills gap, industry expectations, priorities and communication styles must adapt to and embrace the different needs of this younger generation. Millennials are growing and learning on the job in an era of lean, optimized, end-to-end supply chains and are critical to the ongoing transformation of the industry.”
The electronics supply chain is one industry segment that already acknowledges that millennials are the workforce of the future, and are starting to accept the need to change the way it communicates and build relationships.
However, businesses acknowledge Millennials are the workforce of the future. Electronics companies are accepting the notion that business communications and relationship-building must change.