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The Battle for Talent | Supply Chain Market Update

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of supply chain management, a fierce battle is unfolding—a "Battle for Talent" that is reshaping the industry. In the first of this series, Lewis Ironside, Manager of our Supply Chain recruitment division at Sharp & Carter, will guide you through the current state of the Australian supply chain talent market.

In a landscape where the number of roles seeking talent has surged, this unprecedented demand has introduced a whirlwind of opportunities and challenges for businesses striving to maintain resilience and efficiency. As we navigate through the “Battle for Talent” series, we will uncover the driving forces behind this surge, the strategic shifts transforming the industry, and the need for top-tier talent to steer companies through these turbulent times.

Whether you're an experienced supply chain professional, a business leader, or simply intrigued by the dynamics of the supply chain sector, Lewis’ insights will equip you with the knowledge to understand and navigate the competitive landscape. Continue reading to uncover the trends that are shaping the future of supply chain management in Australia.


The Battle for Talent | Australia’s Strategic Imperative

The Supply Chain Talent Landscape in Australia is undergoing a transformative shift, driven by unprecedented competition for talent. This “Battle for Talent” is intensifying, with job advertisements in the supply chain sector surging by 33.4% in June compared to pre-COVID-19 levels across the same period in 2019 (Seek). In the last 30 days alone for example, 2,906 Supply Chain Planning roles have been advertised across Australia. The urgency to attract and retain skilled professionals has never been higher, as businesses navigate complex global supply chains and strive to maintain resilience amidst ongoing disruptions.

Rising Demand and Salaries in Supply Chain

The increase in job advertisements is a clear indicator of the heightened demand for talent. This surge reflects broader trends where supply chains have become more intricate and critical to business success. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities and prompted a reevaluation of supply chain strategies, and additional factors, such as Shipping companies avoiding conflict zones, which has led to higher operational costs. While these measures are vital for safety, they add complexity and costs to supply chain operations, leading to an intensified focus on securing skilled professionals who can drive efficiency, innovation, and resilience.

In response to this demand, advertised salaries in the supply chain sector have risen significantly. Over the past 12 months, salaries have grown by 3.5%, with a 0.9% increase observed in the past three months alone. Tasmania stands out, with advertised salaries in the state rising by 6.7% year-over-year, outpacing the rest of the nation (Seek). This trend is not confined to Tasmania; all states and territories have seen advertised salaries grow faster than inflation in the year to April, highlighting the broad-based nature of this competition.

Moreover, supply chains are now considered less of a cost centre and more of a value driver, essential for maintaining business continuity and fostering growth. This paradigm shift underscores the strategic importance of attracting top talent to enhance supply chain performance.

Additional Challenges and Strategic Shifts

There has been a notable decline in senior positions across all Supply Chain facets over the past 12 months. SME’s to large ASX organisations have nearly all felt the pinch, yet, roles with salaries ranging from $120-200k+Super continue to be in high demand, as reflected by current Seek and Sharp & Carter live job data. This shift stems from an imbalance in management structures, which became excessively top-heavy during the economic boom of 2021-2023. Since 2023, layoffs have primarily targeted senior roles, indicating a deliberate effort by organisations to streamline leadership while safeguarding core operational capacities.

Key Insights: The Current State of Supply Chain Talent

As we wrap up this initial overview of the supply chain talent landscape, it's clear that the competition for skilled professionals is intensifying. The surge in demand, rising salaries, and strategic shifts Lewis Ironside discussed highlight a critical juncture for businesses across Australia. This "Battle for Talent" is not just a contest; it's a strategic imperative that will define the future of supply chain management.

But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned as we continue to explore the complexities and opportunities within this dynamic sector. In our upcoming posts, we'll delve deeper into the specific high-demand areas within the supply chain sector, strategies for talent acquisition and retention, and future trends that are driving the industry forward.

For those looking to stay ahead of the curve, visit our Supply Chain & Operations team page for personalised advice and insights.