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Supply chain leaders in APAC believe grads are unlikely to apply for jobs within the sector, survey reveals

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An overwhelming majority of supply chain leaders across Asia Pacific think that graduates are unlikely to apply for roles in the supply chain, according to research by supply chain recruitment company Bastian Consulting.

In the company’s latest executive report, How to make supply chain a desirable career across APAC, a survey of more than 500 supply chain leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand, also revealed that 72% per cent of respondents said graduates are more likely to explore roles in sectors other than supply chain, while 76% said there is not enough being done to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the sector.

Respondents were also in agreement that employers are not doing enough to engage with young people, as 70% said organisations are lacking in apprenticeships or graduate recruitment program opportunities.

“Over the past 12 months, supply chain has made the headlines and made the public more aware of its important role in society as well the major contribution it makes to the global economy,” said Tony Richter, Founder of Bastian Consulting.

“These results clearly show that the industry can do more to communicate the diverse opportunities available in this growing and exciting sector,” Richter said.

Interestingly, despite the perception that the supply chain sector is grappling with an ageing workforce, less than half (48%) of respondents said there is an ageing workforce issue in supply chain.

The survey also revealed that technology is playing a huge role in supply chain, as just over half (51%) of respondents said technology has changed the type of skillsets required in supply chain roles.

The survey also noted that respondents were more united in their view that the industry is not ready for this change, as 68% of respondents said that the industry is not prepared for the shift in skillsets that will be required.

In New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan, the majority of respondents think there is a gender imbalance across the supply chain workforce. On the contrary, just over half of respondents from Australia and Thailand do not think there is a gender imbalance issue in the supply chain industry.

“One of the biggest issues facing the supply chain industry is a lack of talent. This is clearly being felt across the entire APAC region,” Richter said.

He continued that while there is a lot of investment going into technology, the industry needs to do more to invest in raising awareness of the profession as well as market the many opportunities available to young people.

“Creating an inclusive culture, equal opportunities and career development programs alongside a united effort to demonstrate that this industry is more than just forklifts and warehouses, should be high on the agenda for any business looking to attract new talent in this sector,” he concluded.

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