Senior consultant – supply chain and logistics at Robert Walters Hong Kong.
Should I switch roles to beat the supply chain slump?
As a freight forwarding manager working in-house at a container port, I’ve seen Hong Kong’s freight movements dropping recently and more companies turning to external parties for supply chain management. With the industry seemingly heading in this direction, I’m thinking that I can make more money and have a bigger scope of work if I move to a third- or fourth-party logistics provider. Do you see many people making this move and is it a wise one given the economic climate?
With the slowdown of the economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector in mainland China, the shipping, freight forwarding and third-party logistics industries in Hong Kong are facing a difficult time at the moment. Many candidates in these sectors, even those who specialise in different areas, are seeking to change their industry.
Those in operational roles are usually more successful when changing industries, as the job scope remains largely the same. Those in sales or account management roles, however, often struggle to work in the back office as they are used to being on the front line.
When the market is slowing, companies tend to look for candidates who can immediately contribute to the maintenance of the business.
The majority of employers will take a quick look at your company name and job title to determine if you can make this contribution upon joining the company. This is evident in the supply chain sector, which makes it more challenging for job seekers to change industries.
If you are invited to an interview, you need to make good use of the opportunity to tell your prospective employer more about yourself and how you can contribute to their business.
For example, when an interviewer asks you to introduce yourself, you may tend to focus on explaining your experience in previous or current jobs. However, if you really want to impress them, you should talk about how you can relate your past experience to the job and company you are interviewing with. Focus on “how”, not “what”.
Whether you decide to stay in your current role or move to a third- or fourth-party logistics provider, you should make a list of short- and long-term goals. This will help you stay motivated at work and have an idea of what skills you need to gain for your long-term career development.
Finally, as the supply chain recruitment market is not that aggressive, my suggestion is that you stay with your company until securing a new job.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Should I switch roles to beat the supply chain slump?