The future of work

From the October 2022 print edition

In many respects, most facets of life appear to be slowly returning to normal. At least, things seem to be stabilizing in the post-COVID-19 world.

Michael Power is editor of Supply Professional magazine.

Even restrictions surrounding cross-border travel – mask-wearing on planes, the ArriveCAN app, the testing of travellers and so on, have now been allowed to lapse.

Yet the entire pandemic experience has changed much about how we live, play and, of course, work. It remains to be seen what and how many pandemic-era practices become permanent within employment. Regardless, there are several lessons that supply chain professionals can take away from the past few years regarding work and job hunting. Here are a few:

Communication is king
At one time, supply chain professionals could do their jobs effectively simply by using the hands-on skills. Filling out POs, handling inventory and putting out day-to-day fires was once the bulk of what purchasing and supply chain professionals did.

Now, they are often the public face of their department and organization. They interact with the C-suite, as well as with customers and vendors. That means communication is one of the skills that employers seek most in supply chain professionals.

A candidate’s job market
A situation with many candidates and few positions means, by and large, the employers control the job market. But many positions available and few candidates equals the opposite, with job seekers in the driver’s seat.

According to experts in our article on supply chain employment on page 8, that’s the situation now. With work-from-home and flexible employment arrangements popular, candidates are looking for positions offering these perks. That may change, so we’ll have to see. But for now, the pandemic has opened up the ongoing possibility of such arrangements for many.

Not just salary
Just as candidates are looking for flexible work arrangements, they’re also not driven in their job searches solely by the prospect of higher salaries.

The pandemic has left some departments short staffed, with those remaining overworked. Work-from-home arrangements aren’t perfect, and some feel that being cut off from their supervisors and colleagues means they get little recognition or feedback about their performance. Some job seekers are looking for those perks in the post-pandemic employment world.

Value of education
The pandemic put on hiatus many of the professional development opportunities in supply chain and the professional world in general. Conferences, seminars, and other in-person learning events were cancelled in the name of social distancing.

Although digital options like webinars and online conferences persisted, the lack of face-to-face interactions meant a less-rich learning experience for many. But many in-person events are returning. Supply chain professionals who are comfortable doing so can now take advantage of them.
There’s always more to learn. And knowledge is power, as they say.