The labour market is currently in substantial turmoil. On the one hand, there is a persistent shortage of staff, while on the other, companies are having to downsize due to the faltering economy. At the same time, chatbot ChatGPT celebrated its first birthday last month, with 100 million weekly users worldwide as proof of the phenomenal success of the text generating application.

A common question is whether ChatGPT and generative artificial intelligence (AI) will replace jobs. ChatGPT itself gives a more or less evasive answer to this. However, I think employees, and the overly concerned unions, need not really fear replacement. They are more likely to be replaced or surpassed in their careers by talents who know how to make skilful use of ChatGPT and other AI solutions.

Shortage of suitable staff

There is also a shortage of suitable personnel for supply chain positions at basically all levels, from shop floor to board level. The good news is that, since the coronavirus pandemic, more and more talents have consciously chosen supply chain. This is according to a recent international survey by Boom!, a community of female supply chain professionals. I myself draw the main conclusion from this research that companies should consider the talent pipeline as a supply chain: from recruitment and onboarding, through talent development, to promotion and even departure.

This same survey shows that 26% of respondents are negative and 22% neutral about the technology available within the company to do the job efficiently and effectively. In my view, this is also a major cause of talented millennials leaving for another company after a year of forecasting and demand planning in Excel spreadsheets. Furthermore, a whopping 54% of employers provide little or no transparency in the decision-making criteria for hiring and promoting staff. This is another clear reason for talents to leave.

Flatter corporate pyramids

To prevent hard-won talents from leaving the company quickly, it is crucial to manage their expectations. Corporate pyramids are becoming flatter, so lateral (sideways) career moves make more sense than hierarchical ones. And tell talents that they are not ready for the next step until they have taken their current role to the next level. ChatGPT and AI can probably help them do this.

Martijn Lofvers, Chief Trendwatcher Supply Chain Media