APICS, the professional association for supply chain management, has published the results of its Millennials in Supply Chain research report, conducted by Peerless Research Group in conjunction with Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR) and the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC). A survey carried out in April 2017 was designed to gain insight into millennials as a critical segment of the supply chain workforce. The report finds that millennials are focused, engaged, enthused and committed to working in supply chain management, and reveals that supply chain represents a sought-after, dynamic and rewarding long-term career choice for professionals in their 20s and 30s.
“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. “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.”
Seventy-five percent of survey respondents began their careers in supply chain management. In stark contrast to Gen X and Baby Boomer supply chain professionals, who didn’t plan for or intend to work in the supply chain field, millennials have a keen interest in the field, having completed coursework, internships and often undergraduate and graduate degrees in supply chain management and logistics.
Millennials also demonstrated more stability and less movement from one company to another. Sixty percent of respondents still work in the same area in which they began their supply chain careers, with 38 percent having worked for just one employer their entire career and another 31 percent for only two employers.
The report shows millennials have a diverse interest in activities that span the end-to-end supply chain. Notably, the area that holds most appeal, supply chain design and planning, is a role that touches all areas of supply chain. The millennials surveyed also said they find their careers personally rewarding. Eighty-one percent feel they can make a difference in the supply chain field, 87 percent believe working in the field will help with their personal growth and development, and 88 percent agree that there are opportunities for advancement within the field.
Though millennials working in supply chain are highly satisfied, they are an ambitious group, willing to spend the time and resources to progress. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they intend to take continuing education programs or classes in the next 12 months to advance their careers (73 percent), improve their job performance (56 percent) and take on more challenging work (47 percent). Forty-five percent believe that earning professional certifications are critical to advancing in the field.
Diversity topped the list of what millennials consider most important about the field and the companies for which they work. Eighty-five percent noted that supply chain involves a diverse workforce and encompasses people of all types, which additional findings that more women are now entering the field also reflect. Respondents were roughly two-thirds male (61 percent) and one-third female (39 percent), compared to the 2016 survey of senior supply chain leaders, in which 76 percent of respondents were men while only 24 percent were women.
However, just as earlier research of senior managers in 2016 showed a pay gap between males and females, there is a gender wage gap among millennials. Men and women start at roughly the same salary, but the disparity grows larger as they move up the career ladder. This disparity is chief among complaints from millennials surveyed, along with frustration around the attitude towards millennials by older generations in their organizations and a disconnected feeling from the big picture or a lack of purpose in the workplace.
“Despite some noted frustrations, millennials are continuous learners and fast movers who are eager to advance,” Eshkenazi concluded. “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.”
To read the full Millennials in Supply Chain research report, visit: apics.org/millennials.
About the Survey
In April 2017, Peerless Research Group (the research division of Peerless Media, LLC, which owns Supply Chain Management Review), in conjunction with APICS, APQC and Supply Chain Management Review, conducted a survey to gain insight into millennials as a critical segment of the supply chain workforce.
Subscribers of SCMR, Modern Materials Handling and Logistics Management magazines, along with members of APICS and APQC, received the survey. The goal of the research was to better understand how millennials become involved in the supply chain field and their viewpoints about working in today’s supply chain.
Results are based on 676 respondents working in supply chain management who were pre-qualified for being between the ages of 22 and 37, born between 1980 and 1995. At a 95 percent confidence level, results are projectable at a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.
APICS is the association for supply chain management and the leading provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience. The APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM); APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP); APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD); and APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference-Professional (SCOR-P) designations set the industry standard. With more than 45,000 members and approximately 300 channel partners, APICS is transforming the way people do business, drive growth and reach global customers. For more information, visit apics.org.
About Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR)
Following a similar model to the Harvard Business Review, SCMR primarily publishes columns and features contributed by business school professors, supply chain management practitioners and industry analysts. Topics including sourcing and procurement, software and technology, transportation and logistics, supply chain education, and other topics relating to the supply chain. SCMR also publishes numerous case studies featuring companies such as Wal-Mart, Motorola, IBM and Pfizer. For more information, visit scmr.com.
About Peerless Research Group
Peerless Research Group offers a wide range of custom and research solutions for businesses, consultants and advertising agencies specializing in supply chain, logistics and materials handling products and services. Services include quantitative and qualitative research projects using online, telephone, focus groups, and interviewing techniques. For more information, visit peerlessresearch.com.
APQC helps organizations work smarter, faster, and with greater confidence. It is the world’s foremost authority in benchmarking, best practices, process and performance improvement, and knowledge management. A member-based nonprofit, APQC partners with more than 500 organizations worldwide in all industries. With 40 years of experience, APQC remains the world’s leader in transforming organizations. Visit www.apqc.org, call +1.713.681.4020, or follow @APQC and learn how to Make Best Practices Your Practices®.