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

More than half (56%) of senior supply chain professionals say employee retention in their role has decreased over the past three years — and 57% admit it’s an issue, according to a report by the highly impactful vendor digital training, skill dynamics .

Breaking the skills loss cycle in Supply Chain and Procurement analyzes data from over 200 supply chain professionals in the UK and US to find out what is driving employee attrition, the impact on supply chain organizations and how to stop this trend.

At a time when supply chain teams are under extreme pressure, retaining qualified employees is more important than ever. Still, over a quarter (27%) of young supply chain professionals plan to leave their position in the next two years – and veteran professionals are clearly concerned about the impact. Almost all 99% expressed concern about one or more consequences of high employee turnover, with most concerned about the loss of critical skills (48%), followed by the increased risk of error (43%).

When asked about the reasons for churn, increased workload came first, cited by 62% of professionals, but other factors also play a role. Almost half (47%) cited limited advancement opportunities as a reason for churn, while over a third (34%) cited a lack of respect for the role. In addition, almost one in five (19%) young supply chain professionals does not feel valued at their company.

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

However, the data calls into question the readiness or well-being of professionals in their roles – particularly at the lower 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 role due to a lack of formal skills development opportunities. Almost all (98%) of those surveyed said they would like more training to help them meet job requirements.

“Our data paints a picture of supply chain organizations under stress,” comments Preston. Professionals face strategic issues early in their careers, and often they don’t have the experience or training to face challenges with confidence. In addition, they feel that their contribution to their organization is not fully recognized, so they leave. The workload then increases for those who remain, who then drop out, and organizations find themselves in a perpetual cycle of attrition.

“However, our research points to a clear way to break this: training. Comprehensive training will help professionals deal with the rigors of their roles while showing that the company genuinely cares about them and their career progression.”

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

“This prioritization of training is encouraging,” commented Sam Pemberton, CEO of Skill Dynamics. However, companies must ensure that they direct the budget to the right areas. When asked about the type of training they would like to receive, 53% of professionals said they have access to personalized e-learning programs. People don’t have time for unnecessary training. For this reason, it is imperative that organizations offer tailored programs that professionals can access when they want.”

About the research

The report analyzes research from 200 supply chain and 200 procurement professionals across the UK and US in organizations with over 5,000 employees. Supply chain and procurement samples were divided into junior and senior experts (100 respondents in each category), with senior experts at middle, senior manager and director level and junior experts at junior manager level.

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