RESEARCH conducted by Bastian Consulting, a supply chain recruitment company focused on sourcing leaders across Australia and the Asia Pacific, has revealed that the supply chain industry is struggling to attract young talent.

Bastian Consulting’s latest report, How to make supply chain a desirable career across APAC, a survey of more than 500 supply chain executives from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand, has revealed that the overwhelming majority of respondents think graduates are unlikely to apply for roles in supply chain.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents said graduates are more likely to explore roles in sectors other than supply chain. Furthermore, 76% of respondents said there is not enough being done to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the supply chain.

Respondents were also in agreement that employers are not doing enough to engage with young people, as 70% said organisations are lacking in apprenticeships or graduate recruitment program opportunities.

Tony Richter, founder of Bastian Consulting said, “Over the past 12 months, supply chain has made the headlines and made the public more aware of its important role in society as well the major contribution it makes to the global economy.

“These results clearly show that the industry can do more to communicate the diverse opportunities available in this growing and exciting sector.”

Interestingly, despite the perception that the supply chain sector is grappling with an ageing workforce, less than half (48%) of respondents said there is an ageing workforce issue in supply chain.

The survey also revealed that technology is playing a huge role in supply chain, as just over half (51%) of respondents said technology has changed the type of skillsets required in supply chain roles.


Respondents were more united in their view that the industry is not ready for this change, as 68% of respondents said that the industry is not prepared for the shift in skillsets that will be required.

In New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan, the majority of respondents think there is a gender imbalance across the supply chain workforce. On the contrary, just over half of respondents from Australia and Thailand do not think there is a gender imbalance issue in the supply chain industry.

“One of the biggest issues facing the supply chain industry is a lack of talent,” Mr Richter said.

“This is clearly being felt across the entire APAC region. While there is a lot of investment going into technology, the industry needs to do more to invest in raising awareness of the profession as well as market the many opportunities available to young people.

“Creating an inclusive culture, equal opportunities and career development programs alongside a united effort to demonstrate that this industry is more than just forklifts and warehouses, should be high on the agenda for any business looking to attract new talent in this sector.”

A copy of the report can be accessed here.