• A gig worker checks inventory while working a supply chain job.

Of all the industries affected by the shortage of workers, supply chain has been hit the hardest. Production slowed down for many industries when workers were out sick during the pandemic. Then, businesses had shortages and trouble keeping up with demand again as workers quit. However, the supply chain industry faces a particularly significant challenge because even as workers quit, new jobs are opening. Here’s what that looks like.

A lack of balanced labor

Trends show that the average rate of hiring is outpacing quit rates.  4.3 million people quit their jobs in just May of 2022. During this time, supply chain managers specifically were quitting at high levels. Looking ahead, it’s estimated that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs are anticipated to open by 2030. Furthermore, generational gaps are adding to the number of baby boomers who are retiring. This is impacting the shortage of truck drivers, which is predicted to double to 160,000 by 2030.

Companies struggle to fill supply chain jobs

In addition to problematic quit rates, statistics show that 70% of logistics companies say they have a hard time engaging workers. This is especially true for frontline workers like warehouse associates and machine operators, as these jobs often require additional certifications. Meanwhile, 44% of supply chain organizations believe they struggle with hiring because the jobs are too physically demanding. These organizations suggest that since many potential workers have transferable skills, they prefer less labor-intensive jobs.

A group of supply chain managers discuss how to address labor needs with gig workers on the warehouse floor.

The broad impact of supply chain disruptions

Combining an unsteady supply of labor with increased job openings and customer demand has brought up new supply chain challenges. Businesses would normally love the prospect of increased customer spending. However, spikes in demand put additional strain on supply chains, leading to out-of-stock products, shipping delays, higher prices, and consumer frustration. Where companies may have once thrived during opportunities for growth, many are now having to turn down additional business.

The unavailability of products costs retailers an estimated $1 trillion each year. Moreover, out-of-stock materials, supplies, or products can affect business performance and customer loyalty. If businesses are seeking growth or simply want to continue recovering from the pandemic, they will need to minimize disruptions in the supply chain.

How gig workers fill the gap short- and long-term

Gig workers (also known as contingent workers or independent contractors) are part of a growing pool of candidates who can work in nearly every industry and represent a valuable source of labor. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, 52 million people took on gig work opportunities in the U.S. in 2020, working all types of jobs across the country. This number has steadily climbed during the last two years with no signs of stopping.

Supply chain companies can tap into this pool of gig workers to fill jobs incredibly quickly. Oftentimes, jobs can be filled within days or hours of a recognized need. Contingent workers found on platforms like Wonolo can work both short-term and long-term engagements. This gives companies the flexibility to scale their labor force along with business needs and demand. With gig workers, companies no longer have to turn down new business from their customers. 

Finding the right gig workers

Looking for more stability in your workforce? Gig workers offer supply chain businesses a financially sound way to scale labor as needed, addressing both immediate and future supply chain issues. Learn more about the ways you can grow and protect your business by contacting Wonolo today.