Dive Brief:

  • Enrollment in four-year, two-year, private and public postsecondary institutions has gradually declined over the past few years, but the number of enrolled students choosing to major in Transportation and Materials Moving is growing faster than most other majors, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
  • Overall postsecondary enrollment dropped 1.3% YoY in spring 2018. Enrollment in the Business Management major at four-year institutions dropped 2.1% YoY while the Transportation and Materials Moving increased 6.9%.
  • Enrollment in the Transportation in Materials Moving major increased the most compared to all majors at four-year institutions, according to the report, suggesting increased interest in supply chain and freight.

Dive Insight:

Based on the data, it seems mitigating the talent shortage starts with robust supply chain programs in college.

Postsecondary institutions have been talking about attracting students to supply chain fields for a while, especially in areas where the supply chain industry is booming, and it seems the push to attract more students to supply chain-related majors is working.

Besides recruiting events and scholarships at universities, competitive salaries specifically in operations and transportation jobs are bumping up enrollment in supply chain-related fields.

Undergrads’ surge of interest in supply chain isn’t a moment too soon, either. A recent survey found that many supply chain companies are outsourcing jobs to contractors simply because they don’t have a steady talent stream. A year ago, DHL published a joint report with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimating a growth spurt in the logistics industry but a sharp decline in available talent, predicting a severe talent shortage by 2020.

Because there are so many jobs to fill, increasing interest in supply chain pays off for students when they graduate. Additionally, a WERC study found compensation in the logistics industry increases with education level. Some trucking companies are now compensating truck drivers with salaries instead of an hourly wage, so a transportation degree could help future truck drivers land a higher salary when they graduate and set them up with better benefits.

If supply chain-related majors continue to be so popular, the talent shortage may dwindle (as may the truck driver turnover rate), a positive sign for the health of the industry.



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