Buoyant labour market for supply chain and procurement professionals in 2023

2022 was a year of change for the supply chain and procurement hiring market in more ways than one. Global inflation has led to rising costs of living, pushing companies to enforce cost cutting measures. “To save costs, more companies have moved their regional hubs from Hong Kong to Singapore,” notes Wendy Heng, Associate Director of Robert Walters Singapore. Corporate functions within the tech sector were among the earliest casualties of layoffs, and this has impacted the supply chain.”

“We’ve seen an influx of foreign talent as borders reopened, including those who require work visa sponsorship as they accompany spouses who have relocated to Singapore,” adds Wendy. “The continued growth within the e-commerce sector has also led to stiff competition in the space and an increased demand for logistics professionals.”

Read on to find out more about Wendy’s expectations of the labour market for Supply Chain and Procurement professionals in 2023.

Hybrid roles with strategic and digital experience

How the supply chain industry intends to navigate these changes will show in the market’s hiring activity in 2023. “We can expect a stronger emphasis on cost optimisation, and process and continuous improvement. That translates to a demand for corporate strategy talents who can lean on their operational backgrounds in traditional supply chain functions and a robust understanding of the industry to drive change,” shares Wendy. “There will also be an increase in the number of hybrid roles created. Such roles will combine supply chain experience with other strategic areas of expertise such as automation, data analytics and software implementation.”

Finally, Wendy also foresees that there will be a rise in demand for Singaporean citizens or permanent residents in the space who possess global or regional exposure. 

Technical and soft skills in demand

The roles that will be in highest demand include global logistic managers, category managers, and any leadership roles pertaining to supply chain and procurement centers of excellence.

“Along with the rise of hybrid roles, companies will place their sights on candidates who can bring a mixture of technical and soft skills to the table,” Wendy explains. Technical skill sets that are sought after include proficiency in SAP, Tableau, SQL, Power BI, AutoCAD for warehouse solutions designing, and master data management. Candidates who can showcase soft skills in business analysis, contract negotiation, digital transformation and automation, 3PL and vendor management, or process and continuous improvement through MBA or Lean Six Sigma certifications will be highly sought after.

Offer flexibility and learning pathways

“Where they can, companies should aim to exercise more flexibility when it comes to work arrangements. Offer competitive salary packages that tout bonuses, flexi-benefits, medical and dental benefits for the candidate and their dependents,” says Wendy. “Candidates are looking for workplaces with an open and collaborative culture, supportive managers and more autonomy in their roles. These factors go a long way towards talent retention.”

In a competitive market, candidates also stay longer in their positions when given professional development opportunities. To this end, Wendy advises that companies upskill their employees where possible. “Work together with your employees to chart out clear progression roadmaps and plans for them, and empower them to achieve those milestones through further training and professional certifications.”

Chart clear career plans with your employees, and empower them to achieve those milestones.

Salaries expected to go up

Salaries for supply chain and procurement professionals are expected to increase by 15% to 20%, particularly for strong candidates. “This is because local talents are well aware of the talent crunch. Amidst this positive economic and labour market sentiment, competition is going to remain stiff.” Wendy explains.

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