Aimee Gleave

May 17, 2022

4 In-demand Supply Chain jobs influenced by ethics, sustainability and Brexit


In the hottest candidate market for 50 years (BBC News - Job vacancies outpace unemployment for first time) we are seeing distinct trends with increasing numbers of in-demand supply chain jobs influenced by a rapidly changing global landscape, economic relations and climate change, all causing an increase in demand for very specific roles.

As recruiters we see this on a daily basis, talking to clients & candidates we can see certain roles becoming more common & so in this blog we thought we’d run through some of the supply chain jobs that we are seeing more of.

Ethical and sustainable supply chain jobs;

Supply Chain jobs covering environmental, social and governance (ESG) are becoming much more common, with roles specifically covering ethical trade, corporate social responsibility, supplier diversity, sustainability and responsible consumption.

This is often a particular focus when a business has an international supply chain. Large retailers, particularly in the fashion sector, are becoming more aware of this and now have specific in-house departments / teams dedicated to looking after these areas (environmental issues, modern slavery / human rights exploitation…). While others are enlisting the support of consultancies to help them achieve responsible supply chains & operations (organisations like the Slave-Free Alliance for example).

Human Rights Manager

This vacancy shows how such roles / skills are needed within businesses to ensure a company’s ESG, which contributes hugely to an organisation’s brand reputation.

In this case, the Human Rights Manager is responsible for helping businesses develop strategies and action plans mitigating the risk of modern slavery, as well as carrying out gap assessments and supporting Slave-Free Alliance members where potential incidents of slavery and exploitation are identified.

Human Right Manager Skills required;

  • Strategic and operational knowledge of modern slavery and broader Human Rights legislation and best practice
  • Experience of either Risk Management/Investigation, Supply Chain Management or Audit/Compliance
  • Knowledge and application of policy development
  • Experience of working with risk mapping software would be desirable

We are currently recruiting a Human Rights Manager for one of our clients, Hope for Justice, find out more about this role – click here.

Sustainable Sourcing Manager

This role oversees the management of sustainable sourcing, as companies start to look at, or consolidate their sustainable credentials (not simply as an afterthought but strategically prioritising this). Reporting in to the Head of Sourcing, typically this is an overarching role, touching on all aspects of an organisation’s operation (where traditionally it may have been seen as tick-box exercise) now sustainability is driving supply chains & is an integral part of a brand’s personality.

An example of this is SuperDry’s advertising for a category manager to help them be “the #1 sustainable style destination” as opposed to “the #1 style destination” as they may have done in previous years.

This role covers sourcing & negotiation but also includes researching supplier innovations & sustainable credentials as well visiting suppliers to assess adherence to a business’s ethical & technical compliance standards. It is not uncommon for similar roles to also mention such things as carbon emissions, responsible consumption, supplier diversity and human rights.

Stainable Sourcing Skills required;

  • Experience of sourcing in the respective category/categories
  • An active interest in sustainability and being keen to make a tangible impact
  • Knowledgeable about trends in market conditions, pricing, future markets and delivering sustainability initiatives
  • Excellent organisation, project management and planning skills
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Ability to drive strategic sustainability objectives set by the Sourcing Director

Head of Ethical Trade

Similar to the sustainable sourcing manager role, a Head of Ethical Trade typically reports in to a company’s Sourcing Director. They typically oversee a central ethical team responsible for several group brands or subsidiary businesses.

The position oversees sustainability, sourcing, ethical trade, product quality as well as operational efficiency to help a business align and achieve their strategic goals. Leading and managing a central team, onboarding new suppliers, ensuring ethical compliance and transparency, supporting brand buying teams’ ethical & sustainable purchasing practices, managing audit processes and ensuring compliance to deliver supply chain transparency and maximise worker welfare.

Head of Ethical Trade skills required;

  • Experience in social auditing processes and methodology
  • Knowledge of UK modern slavery act, industry standards, regulatory bodies and associations
  • Experience in managing complex supply chains
  • Experience in applying ESG goals in a procurement function

Shipping, Import & Export roles

These role types are still evolving in the wake of Brexit and its associated legislation. However, they are also changing due to the challenges businesses face in the wake of the pandemic, as well as new guidelines, processes and legislation implemented post-Brexit. More paperwork, new processes and regulations to follow & comply with are causing a strain on supply chains meaning the skills and knowledge required to deal with them are in hot demand.

Experienced shipping / import / export professionals are so in demand in fact that some clients are creating ‘trainee’ or ‘entry-level’ shipping roles, where previous relevant experience is not required, instead offering the chance to be trained up.

For example this Trainee Shipping Coordinator vacancy is the perfect opportunity for someone who would like to enter into a career in Shipping / Logistics and who would like to learn and develop highly-sought-after industry skills.

Trainee / Entry-level Shipping Coordinator skills required;

  • A desire to embark on a career in shipping / logistics
  • Strong administration skills with a high attention to detail
  • Good intermediate Excel skills

If you would like to know more about the in-demand skills and experience in Procurement, Supply Chain and Logistics specialisms then you can find out more in our 2022 Salary & Benefits Guide. You can download it by clicking here

Do you need head sourcing a Head of Ethical Trade, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, Human Rights Manager, or Shipping, Import & Export roles? We’re here to help – contact us on 0333 121 3345 for information about our tailored Recruitment Solutions

title of article

We’re here to help

Whether you are a client or a candidate, getting to know you helps us to understand and anticipate your needs. Why not get in touch and see just what we can do for you today?

Contact Us