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What Does the Data Say About Millennials in Supply Chain Management?

05/23/2018 By

Judging from the many interviews and casual conversations that we’ve had with millennial professionals in supply chain management over the past few years, we can say with some certainty that this generation (roughly defined as those born between 1981 and 1996) is characterized by a desire for purpose, a willingness to collaborate, and an eagerness to look for technological solutions to problems.

A report from APICS, APQC and Supply Chain Management Review on millennials in supply chain largely supports these assertions. Researchers surveyed 676 supply chain professionals between the ages of 22 and 37, evenly split between older (ages 30 to 37) and younger (ages 22 to 29) millennials. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few of the broad trends.

Education Matters

This is an educated generation. Millennials working in supply chain place a high priority on education, whether in the form of advanced degrees or continuing education or professional certifications.

An overwhelming majority of the respondents already hold a bachelor’s degree, and 65% also say that they intend to pursue continuing education programs and classes in the next 12 months. The most common reason given is career advancement, followed by the prospect of improving job performance and taking on more challenging assignments.

Given that the proliferation of supply chain management programs at universities is a relatively recent phenomenon, it’s not surprising that 66% of the respondents have an undergraduate or graduate degree in logistics or supply chain management, compared with a mere 19% of senior level managers.

So Does Purpose

Past winners of the Thomas/ISM 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program have consistently expressed a desire to do good and make a difference through their work. The report findings support this somewhat, with four out of five respondents saying that they think they can make a difference in the supply chain field.

When it comes to choosing which company to work with, millennials have mixed thoughts on prestige. Twenty percent of the respondents said that company prestige and name recognition were important to them, and 41% were ambivalent. Another interesting finding is that for half of the respondents, a strong corporate environmental responsibility policy could be a deciding factor.

Source: Millennials in Supply Chain

Quick Facts and Figures

Here are some more interesting findings from the report:

  • For the majority of the respondents, supply chain is not a profession that they fell into, with three out of four reporting that they began their careers in supply chain.
  • Only one out of 10 took a supply chain position because they were unable to find work in their degree area.
  • Like senior managers, there is a pay gap between male and female millennial professionals. The male respondents reported an average salary of $92,920, whereas female respondents reported an average salary of $78,840.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents say that they began their supply chain careers working in planning or procurement.
  • Among those who did not begin their careers in supply chain, 22% worked in engineering and 17% worked in sales or marketing.
  • About a quarter of the respondents reported that they have taken part in a supply chain management training program, and 20% came to supply chain through a rotational program.
  • Eighty-one percent agree that the supply chain field is “old and set in its ways.”