Diversifying talent pipeline key to addressing supply chain skills shortage - Ibec

February 26, 2024

Dublin, Ireland

Today, Ibec hosted an event with Minister of State Jack Chambers to discuss potential skills shortages within Ireland's supply chain network, as part of the Government's 'Logistics and Supply Chain Skills Week 2024.' The event highlighted the role that diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives could play in expanding the talent and skills pipeline.

With shifting workforce demographics, global conflicts, and lingering effects of the pandemic and Brexit, Ireland's supply chain resilience faces unprecedented threats. Figures from the CSO show that over 40% of workers in the sector are aged 50 and above, indicating an urgent need for rejuvenation and diversification of talent. Data also reveals that 27% of transportation and storage sector employees are aged 55 and over, surpassing the national average and posing significant risks to supply chain continuity.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said:

"Irish businesses recognise that diversity and inclusion are not only good for Irish society but also for the economy. We acknowledge that an open and tolerant society is indisputably a key driver for social and economic prosperity. Experience has shown that the multinational workforces that underpin the Irish labour market have strengthened talent pools, boosted productivity, increased creativity and innovation, all of which have contributed to Ireland’s competitiveness and growth in recent decades.

"The Irish economy heavily relies on the efficiency of logistics and supply chains, with imports totalling €141 billion and exports amounting to €208 billion in 2022. Additionally, the Transportation & Storage sector accounted for nearly €10 billion in Gross Value Added to the Irish economy in 2022. Any threat to our supply chain reliance is a challenge that should not be underestimated. Diversity and inclusion present a real opportunity to unlock untapped talent pools and bridge skill gaps. Embracing diversity and inclusion not only broadens our talent base but also fosters a more robust and future-proof supply chain network."

Speaking at the event, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers said:

“The Logistics and Supply Chain sector underpins Ireland’s economy. It is vital to the success of Irish businesses and to the life of Irish citizens and communities. International crises such as COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and recent events in the Red Sea continue to highlight the critical importance of this often-invisible process, without which the economy does not function.

But there is a severe labour and skills shortage in the sector. We need more young people, more women and more diverse talent to consider education and careers in Logistics and Supply Chain. This week will showcase the huge breath of opportunities for young people in the sector and I would like to thank IBEC for the expertise and knowledge they are providing as part of their support for this important initiative.”

Other speakers at the event included Lorcan Sheehan, Founder & CEO of PerformanSC & Chair of Ibec Supply Chain Network, and Cathriona Hallahan, Non-ED, and former MD of Microsoft Ireland.