In April, the number of vacancies fell by 37% * due to the corona outbreak. The consequences of the corona crisis are particularly noticeable within customer service. Robert Brighton, specialised in the recruitment of supply chain professionals, shares his findings.

How has the demand for customer service employees developed in recent months? 

'Before the lockdown, the number of job vacancies within customer service was stable and there was a lot of demand for new employees. In April there was suddenly a huge setback. Especially the large recruitment projects, in which a group of new employees is hired at once, were put on hold. If fewer products or services are sold, the number of customer service inquiries automatically decreases, and scaling down this department is a quick way to save costs. An understandable decision, but in economically challenging times it is vitally important to keep your customer service department well-staffed. You want to continue to offer high quality service to your customers. "

What other developments do you see in the supply chain labour market?

The number of job vacancies in the field of supply chain coordination, export coordination, logistics analytical roles and multilingual specialists has decreased. But the impact of the crisis on customer service was much greater than for other fields. '

Do you see differences between industries?

'Absolutely. Consumer confidence has collapsed as many foreign governments have taken strict corona measures. This is clearly reflected in the automotive industry, for example. The chemical industry is also going through a difficult time; because companies produce less, chemical companies sell fewer raw materials.

On the other side, we see organisations in e-commerce, food-related retail such as supermarkets and specialty stores, technology and the gaming industry hiring new people.’ 

What impact has covid-19 had on the way of working for supply chain professionals?

'The economy performed very well during recent years, which means that companies had the budget to hire support professionals for positions within sales support and order administration. Work that could be taken out of the hands of specialists and managers. But you may have guessed already; the same work can also be returned to specialists and managers, so these positions were the first to be cut during the lockdown.’

What happens to the salaries?

‘Where we previously saw that applicants put high stakes on their salary negotiations, you see that employers and applicants are now more aligned. Organisations evaluate more carefully whether the salary requirement corresponds to the current market value and whether this fits within the budget.’

What challenges do you expect within supply chain in the coming months?

‘Because the economy has been doing well in recent years, most companies have built up a financial buffer. They currently have the budget and the time to set up optimisation projects. Cost-effective technological developments are being implemented, so the demand for specialists continues. Maintaining close contact with suppliers and conducting market research have therefore become even more important. There is a role to play for customer service and commercial employees. It is expected that the number of job vacancies for these positions will also increase again.'

What do you recommend to supply chain professionals looking for a job?

'I always appreciate it when someone has done their homework. In other words, paid attention to their resume and the letter of introduction, read the vacancy carefully, and conducted research into the organisation and the contact persons at the company. Write your resume and motivation letter in the ‘language’ in which the vacancy is advertised and show that you kept busy with your profession by taking trainings and courses. Speaking one or more foreign languages is important within supply chain. Especially within multinationals, English is often the working language. '


More information

Would you like to know more about the current opportunities in the labour market for supply chain professionals? Please contact Robert Brighton via or tel. +31 20 796 9040


*Source: Jobfeed

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