DHL SUPPLY CHAIN REPORT IDENTIFIES CAUSES OF GLOBAL TALENT SHORTAGE CRISIS

Press Release: Westerville, Ohio 07/28/2017

A survey conducted by DHL Supply Chain found that the supply chain talent pool is not keeping up with the changing requirements as technology reshapes the industry

DHL Supply Chain, the Americas’ leader in contract logistics and part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, called upon industry leaders to recognize the growing talent gap crisis in the supply chain sector. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in logistics are estimated to grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020. Furthermore, one global study estimated that demand for supply chain professionals exceeds supply by a ratio of 6:1, with some predicting that ratio could be as drastic as 9:1

DHL Supply Chain surveyed more than 350 supply chain and operations professionals in five global regions. The findings revealed that there are a number of reasons contributing to the talent shortage crisis in a rapidly evolving field. The report ‘The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: From Gap to Crisis’ was commissioned by DHL Supply Chain and authored by Lisa Harrington, president of the lharrington group LLC. The report highlights the key supply chain talent challenges experienced today, and identifies opportunities for businesses to compete on a global stage. 

The survey revealed the top factors driving the talent shortage:

  • Changing skill requirements: Today, the ideal employee has both tactical/ operational expertise and professional competencies such as analytical skills, but 58 percent of companies’ say this combination is hard to find. Additionally, tomorrow’s talent must also excel at leadership, strategic thinking, innovation and high-level analytic and technological capabilities.
  • Aging workforce: As much as a third of the current workforce is at or beyond the retirement age.
  • Lack of development: One third of companies surveyed have taken no steps to create or feed their future talent pipeline.
  • Perception that supply chain jobs lack excitement: The industry is still contending with the impression that other fields are more prestigious and offer more opportunities, fuelling lack of interest in the industry within the world’s future workforce.


In addition to the challenges of finding talent, the report also found that more than a third of companies have failed to take steps to create their future talent pipeline or develop their workforce despite the significant impact such plans have on bottom lines. As one study recently found, companies that excel in talent management increased their revenues 2.2 times as fast and their profits 1.5 times as fast compared to ‘talent laggards.’ 

Dave Ames, Vice President – Talent Acquisition/Management and Learning & Development at DHL Supply Chain North America, said, “The industry in which we operate is so dynamic that we’ve had to be more creative than ever in attracting, developing, and retaining talent to be able to meet the needs of our customers and also enable career growth for our associates. At DHL Supply Chain, we prioritize the development of our current talent pool to adapt to constantly changing job requirements and increasing complexity within the supply chain.”

Following those best practices, DHL Supply Chain’s own recruitment and development initiatives have proven to be successful in recent years, despite the talent crisis. In North America, DHL Supply Chain has put a major emphasis on enhancing its employer brand and the employee value proposition to be able to provide the most realistic job preview possible while also highlighting the benefits for potential applicants. DHL Supply Chain has also taken advantage of its internally-developed leadership enrichment program and accelerated development programs to give employees the necessary competencies, skills and experiences required to grow their careers, while also catering to the career aspirations of their associates. Those initiatives alone are responsible for filling more than two-thirds of DHL Supply Chain’s open positions.

“The supply chain talent shortage is now critical enough that it’s on the minds of supply chain managers across all industries, but it didn’t develop overnight,” Ames adds. “Because supply chains solutions are our business, we’ve seen the talent gap widen over many years, and have used that time to adjust our approach toward attracting, developing and retaining talent accordingly. Our unique expertise helps ensure that job openings are filled by qualified experts wherever we and our customers operate.” 

The complete “The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: From Gap to Crisis’” report is available for download here.