4 HR trends to affect SA’s supply chain in 2015


SupplyHR2015.jpgAccording to Forbes, high-level trends like the growing skills gap increase pressure on staff to “stay relevant, choose degrees that turn into jobs and constantly reinvent themselves”, Tech-Pro tells SmartProcurement.

Top HR Workplace Trends in 2015¹

1. Expect the skills gap to widen

Skills mismatch – or ‘the gap between the skills required on the job and those possessed by individuals’ – is a worsening structural issue that is set to affect supply chain competitiveness in 2015.

South Africa’s growing skills gap is driven, primarily, by a weak education system. At present, we rank 146th – out of 148 – in ‘Quality of the Educational System’ on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index.²

Our skills gap is further shaped by:

• A lack of Mathematics graduates: Department of Education statistics for 2013 show that only 26.1% of Matric candidates who wrote Maths – a core subject for many professions – achieved a pass mark above 50%.
• A lack of alignment between tertiary curricula and skill requirements.
• Limited career guidance available at secondary-school level.

This widening skills mismatch means that “graduates are discovering that despite their academic qualifications, they lack the specific technical and professional skills demanded by an ever-changing job market”.³

2. Continual job search¹

A knock-on effect of the skills gap is continual job search – or job hopping.

Globally, demand for skilled supply chain professionals is high, creating many job opportunities for a small pool of specialists. Technology – including social media and mobile – offers easy access to these jobs.

Demand together with availability creates a situation where some supply chain professionals are always on the move.

Job hopping has become so prevalent that nearly one third of respondents to a recent study by Indeed.com indicated that they expect workers to job hop.

Consequently, in 2015, employers will focus on retention, particularly on the creation of superior working environments, communication and flexibility in a bid to counteract this trend. The use of social media as a communication tool for current and potential employees is also likely to rise.

3. Millennials take leadership roles¹

The number of millennial managers – born between 1982 and 2004 – will rise in 2015.

Analysis conducted by Ernst & Young of their own workforce composition found that 59% of their millennial employees are already in management, while 18% are in senior management roles.

The rise of young managers is not without consequence. Millennials are often pushed into leadership roles out of necessity, owed to skills shortages. Many are unprepared, do not receive management training nor are able to fully exploit the experience and wisdom offered by older workers.

Consequently, in 2015, companies will focus more on succession planning as a means of identifying – and readying – younger workers for management roles.

4. The rise of the ‘flex’ worker

The number of ‘flex’ workers will continue to grow, out of both choice and necessity.

In 2015, it’s likely that more supply chains will look to embrace ‘smart working’, defined by Capgemini as “an approach to organising work that aims to drive greater effectiveness in achieving job outcomes through a combination of flexibility, autonomy and collaboration, in parallel with optimising tools and working environments for employees.”

‘Smart working’ environments feature elements like a high degree of autonomy and flexibility, a culture of trust and collaboration and the use of advanced communications technology, ergonomic work spaces and hot desking.

What HR trends are likely to affect your supply chain in 2015? Is your environment making plans to deal with the impact? How can these trends positively influence supply chain professionals?

1: ‘10 Workplace Trends for 2015’, Dan Schawbel writing for Forbes, October 2014
2: ‘The Global Competitiveness Report 2013 2014’, World Economic ForumReport
3: ‘Global Risks 2014’, World Economic ForumReport
4: ‘Smart Working: The Impact of Work Organisation and Job Design’, CIPD, 2008

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