The modern economy is one of convenience. It is not only possible to order virtually everything you want or need online, but it is the new norm. Online stores have replaced large swaths of brick-and-mortar storefronts, and manufacturing has become globalized on an unprecedented scale.

This has resulted in a monumental expansion of the supply chain industry. Companies of all sizes have been faced with completely rethinking their supply chains to maximize efficiency in this new global market, and new jobs have been created to pick up the slack. Legacy Bowes contributor Barbara Bowes writes, “Since supply chain management touches every industry sector, there are new and evolving opportunities in all aspects of planning, production, co-ordination and delivery.” It is hard to overstate just how large this industry has become.

The Supply Chain Web

In the U.S., the supply chain economy is one of the biggest sources of new jobs. According to Harvard Business Review contributors Mercedes Delgado and Karen Mills, the supply chain industry accounts for 44 million jobs in the U.S., making up 37 percent of all jobs. This should come as no surprise given the ubiquity of supply chains in the market. Delgado and Mills write, “… supply chain industries have downstream linkages to multiple industries, which allow innovations they create to cascade and diffuse across the economy.”

The supply chain industry is like a giant web running through the entire economy. As trends of globalization and movement toward internet-based commerce continue, companies will put more resources into developing an efficient supply chain in order to remain effectively competitive. As Bowes points out, “… one lone error can delay key inventory, thus delaying production and resulting in lost time and money.” As the complexity and size of these supply chains increases, so does the demand for quality talent.

Demand Outpacing Supply

The demand for mid- and high-level supply chain management talent is greatly outpacing the supply of new graduates. Supply Chain Dive contributor Barry Hochfelder cites a University of Maryland/DHL study that found that the demand for qualified supply chain personnel is six times the supply. Many companies are scrambling to find qualified talent to meet the increasingly complex demands of modern supply chains.

This is a symptom of the growth of the industry. An industry that is responsible for 37 percent of all jobs and is still suffering a talent drought is slated to become one of the biggest industries in the country, replacing manufacturing. Delgado and Mills point out, “… manufacturing employment has declined significantly, both overall and in the supply chain, to the distress of many in America.” Supply chain management is quickly taking over manufacturing in the U.S. economy.

Given the extraordinary scope of the modern supply chain industry in the U.S. and abroad, pursuing a supply chain management degree is one of the best ways to stay relevant and advance in your career. While many lament the decline of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., the supply chain industry is replacing many of those jobs with higher-paying positions.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin Parkside’s online MBA program with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management.


Harvard Business Review: The Supply Chain Economy and the Future of Good Jobs in America

Legacy Bowes Group: Supply Chain Management: A Growing Field

Supply Chain Dive: Has Supply Chain Growth Outpaced the Talent It Requires?