What are we seeing for 2017 when it comes to material handling and logistics talent? Here are six talent trends that are shaping the workforce:
1) C-Level Titles Emerging Quickly
New C-level titles are quickly emerging as businesses adapt to emerging technologies as well as new leadership requirements. Traditionally, C-level positions have been focused on operations (chief operations officer, COO), finance (chief financial officer, CFO) and information systems (chief information officer, CIO). But now we are seeing the inclusion and increase of many more like chief digital officer (CDO), chief privacy officer (CPO), chief strategy/sustainability officer (CSO), chief automation officer (CAO) and chief user experience officer (CXO).
Another potential driver of an expanding C-suite is the current war for top industry talent. Some believe that adding new positions at the high end of the management structure will allow companies to retain key personnel.
2) Talent Raids to Acquire Leaders
Employing top-tier talent is a core factor in the success of any manufacturing company. Yet there is an insufficient talent pool from which to acquire leadership. This labor shortage is causing those on the frontlines to talent poach from competitors.
Right now, the competition for highly qualified and experienced leaders is at an all-time high due to several factors, including an underinvestment in leadership development and tighter operating margins that influence workforce strategies.
3) Booming Cybersecurity Job Market
Cyberattacks on manufacturing companies of all sizes are on the rise as attackers attempt to steal valuable intellectual property and information. In fact, the manufacturing sector is one of the most hacked industries, second only to healthcare. Therefore, cybersecurity jobs in manufacturing are in high demand. However, the demand for these workers is outstripping supply. Cybersecurity openings have grown three times as fast as openings for IT jobs overall, and it takes companies longer to fill cybersecurity positions.
The cybersecurity industry as a whole is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020, according to Forbes. In addition, the demand for the cybersecurity workforce is expected to rise to 6 million by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.
4) Boomerang Employees More Common
Boomerang employees are employees who leave an organization only to return back to that same employer sometime later. They are also known as the “comeback kids.” Rehiring these former workers is on the rise. With talent at a premium, it only makes sense.
Hiring managers find that bringing back someone they know is easier than recruiting new blood; plus it saves money on training and development. In addition, there’s an immediate ROI.
5) Working Remotely More Acceptable
Traditionally, manufacturing companies have found it more effective to have customer service teams in the factory. However, some companies have found that the best people they wanted to hire were located elsewhere. Therefore, we’re seeing an uptick in manufacturers that are open to remote workers.
Overall, by 2020, it is expected that 50% of workers in the U.S. will be working either from home or another remote location. Having virtual employees is a way to get things done round-the-clock, without commuting, and with those hard-to-find skill sets.
6) Jobs Coming Back to U.S.
Reshoring or bringing jobs back to the U.S. was a central theme of the recent Presidential campaign. However, aside from the election, recent developments—including expensive labor abroad and high shipping costs—are also factors in bringing jobs back to the U.S. In addition, according to 24/7 Wall St., companies that are reshoring are finding that it’s beneficial to their image since consumer preference is for “made in America” products.
Logistical factors are also making reshoring more practical for businesses. In the era of Amazon, in which consumers expect quick turnaround on products, it can be more practical for companies to make products in-country to have the product ready for customers faster and avoid shipping expenses.
Dan Charney is the president and CEO of Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI), an executive search firm for companies specializing in material handling and logistics, packaging, capital equipment, and automation systems.