SUPPLY CHAIN AND EMPLOYMENT

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Bangladesh’s economy is sprinting. It is poised to be the third fastest growing economy in the world in terms of achieving high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, as per the United Nations report. Our economy will expand at a staggering rate of 7.4% this year. Strong economic growth is well supported by robust domestic and international demand. Domestic demand has increased because of the availability of surplus disposable income among households and international demand for Bangladeshi RMG products, and footwear is on the rise. Prospects are even more tempting. Bangladesh is likely to be the biggest mover in the global gross domestic product rankings in 2030, becoming the 26th largest economy in the world from 42nd now, according to the latest report of HSBC Global Research. Bangladesh is expected to become a $700 billion economy in 2030 from $300 billion now, the same report says.

With the economic boom and its integration with the global economy, the importance of specialized enterprise has become more conspicuous. An increasingly important role is being played by supply chain management. Suddenly, there is a great demand for supply chain professionals in the market. It is undoubtedly great news for young fresh graduates, as youth unemployment is very high at 11.4%. According to experts, the growth of the local companies has given birth to various supply chain departments. Over the past few years, ISCEA (International Supply Chain Education Alliance) have produced 3500 supply chain professionals. However, employment in the supply chain has its fair share of obstacles. We all know about the infamous difference between skills of employees and industry demand. There is a significant skill gap between the required skills and abilities of the graduates. As a result, Bangladesh adds 2.2 million HR graduates in the unemployment pool. But the scope of employment is minimal, due to an overwhelming number of student graduate having poor technical and communication skills. Job-related knowledge, interpersonal skills, and employability traits are abysmal. We have to change our curriculum according to the demands of the industry.

The current employees in the supply chain have voiced their concerns about several issues. They are in constant angst about the delivery of goods to and from Chattogram Port. Poor infrastructure and transportation problems are barriers to efficient supply chain management. The problems add to the cost of production. Currently, supply chain accounts for 60-70% of the total business expenditure. Experts have stated that the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) will ease some problems. But establishing a supply chain ministry will really give businesses the edge it requires to compete globally.

There are different opportunities and problems in supply chain employment in various industries. The demands from supply chain professionals in export sectors like RMG and footwear are different from that of FMCG. Interestingly, technology is chaining the face of the supply chain. The fourth industrial revolution is changing every professional dimension, and the supply chain is no different. I had the opportunity to catch up with supply chain experts from various sectors. Prof. Dr. Md. Abu Taher, Pro Vice-Chancellor of South East University; Ashraful Hossain, Asst. General Manager, Supply Chain Management, PRAN-RFL, and Rajiv Bhattacharya, Sr. Vice President, Business Operations, Shohoz Limited shared their insights on the current situation of employment in supply chain and its future.

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