99% of supply chain professionals concerned about the consequences of high employee churn


More than half (56%) of senior supply chain professionals say that employee retention in their function has decreased over the past three years – and 57% admit this is a problem, according to a report by high-impact digital training provider, Skill Dynamics.

Breaking the skills loss cycle in supply chain and procurement, analyses data from over 200 supply chain professionals across the UK and US, to uncover what’s driving employee churn, the implications for supply chain organisations, and how they can stop the trend.

At a time when supply chain teams are under extreme pressure, keeping skilled people is more important than ever. Yet over a quarter (27%) of junior supply chain professionals plan to leave their role over the next two years – and senior professionals are clearly worried about the impact. Almost all 99% expressed concern over one or more consequences of high employee turnover, with the highest proportions worried about the loss of critical skills (48%), followed by the increased risk of errors (43%).

When asked about the causes of churn, increased workload came out on top, cited by 62% of professionals, but other factors are also at play. Almost half (47%) named limited progression opportunities as a driver of churn, while over a third (34%) cited a lack of respect for the function. In addition, almost one in five (19%) of junior supply chain professionals do not feel valued within their organisation.

“It’s not altogether surprising to see a lack of respect for the function cited as a driver of churn,” comments Adrian Preston, Head of Supply Chain Content at Skill Dynamics. “Historically, supply chain has been viewed as an operational function, but as global supply chains grow, strategy and planning are becoming increasingly important skill sets. Our data clearly shows this, with senior and junior supply chain professionals agreeing that supply planning, analytics and strategy are the most important skills for their jobs.”

However, the data places a question mark over professionals’ readiness or comfort in their roles – especially at the junior end of the spectrum. Almost three quarters (73%) of junior supply chain professionals agreed that there is a high need for structured, on the job training in their function, due to a lack of formal qualification options. Almost all (98%) of respondents said that they’d like more training to help them meet job requirements.

“Our data paints a picture of supply chain organisations under stress,” comments Preston. Professionals are having to grapple with strategic problems early in their careers, and often they don’t have the experience or training to confidently deal with challenges. Added to this, they don’t feel like their contribution to their organisation is being fully recognised, so they leave. Workload then increases for those left, who then jump ship, and organisations find themselves in a perpetual skills loss cycle.

“However, our research does point towards one clear way of breaking this: training. Comprehensive training will help professionals deal with the rigours of their roles, while demonstrating that the organisation really does care about them and their career progression.”

The data suggests that organisations may already be reaching this conclusion. Well over half (56%) of senior professionals anticipate their training budget increasing in FY23/24. On average professionals anticipate an increase of 31.18%.

“This prioritisation of training is encouraging to see”, comments Sam Pemberton, Skill Dynamics’ CEO. However, organisations must make sure that they’re channelling budget into the right areas. When asked about the type of training they’d like to receive, 53% of professionals said access to personalised eLearning programs. People don’t have time to do unnecessary training. That’s why it’s imperative that organisations offer tailored programs that professionals can tap into when they want.”

About the Research 

The report analyses research findings from 200 supply chain and 200 procurement professionals from across the UK and US in organisations of over 5,000 employees. Supply chain and procurement samples were split into junior and senior professionals (100 respondents in each category), with senior professionals being of middle, senior manager and director level and junior professionals being of junior manager level.

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