Data Insight January 12, 2024

Is Blockchain the Secret to More Resilient, Transparent Sourcing?

Specific digital skills have the power to unlock key priorities within sourcing. Blockchain in particular can enable superior record keeping and traceability, but proficiency with the method often isn't mentioned in sourcing job posts.

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Cody Stack

Key Takeaways

  1. 1

    23% of sourcing job posts mention digital skills – this is less than roles in forecasting and planning but more than roles in manufacturing or logistics. Of the digital skills mentioned, analytics and automation are the most sought-after skill sets.

  2. 2

    Blockchain, a potential unlock for traceability, is mentioned by the average company in only 0.3% of sourcing job posts – but those more bullish on blockchain, like Home Depot, include the skill in 10x as many sourcing job posts.

The future of sourcing is a move from transacting to leading, where the C-suite relies on the sourcing team to gain a competitive advantage through smarter, data-driven decision-making. Sourcing leaders work at the intersection between business and sustainability to deliver both financial growth and realize Scope 3 progress. Teams with the right data, digital skills, and emotional intelligence will achieve this. 

18% of supply chain job posts on LinkedIn across the 175 B2B and B2C companies we track fall within sourcing. On average, 23% of those positions require digital skills, less than roles in forecasting (39%) and planning (28%) but more than roles in manufacturing (19%) or logistics (20%). Unsurprisingly, technology companies are the most likely to mention digital skills in their sourcing job posts, particularly B2B companies. Consumer-facing tech companies like Apple and Samsung mention digital skills in about one in three job posts, while primarily B2B tech companies like Emerson and Texas Instruments mention digital skills in one in two sourcing job posts. Other sectors that are ahead of the curve are food & drug retail, medical tech, energy, specialty retail, and pharma. 

Bar chart showing hiring for digital sourcing roles relative to supply chain hiring by digital skill, November 2022-October 2023
Source: Zero100

The most highly sought-after digital skills in sourcing are analytics (mentioned in 14% of job posts), automation (6%), software engineering (6%), and AI/ML (3%). Other supply chain functions hire for these skills more than in sourcing. For example, a company hiring for a position in demand planning and forecasting is about twice as likely to require AI/ML, analytics, big data, and software engineering skills of prospective employees as compared to a company hiring for a sourcing position. Likewise, manufacturing positions are more likely to require experience with automation and robotics of prospective employees. 

Where sourcing stands out is the nascent implementation of blockchain. Sourcing roles are the most likely to mention blockchain compared to all other supply chain functions. This is because blockchain can provide the greatest unlock in sourcing, enabling far superior record keeping and fully enabling traceability. As the Harvard Business Review states, “Blockchain thus greatly reduces, if not eliminates... execution, traceability, and coordination problems.” 

Only 14 of the companies we track mention blockchain within sourcing job posts, many of which are digital leaders (companies that hire most aggressively for digital skills) across the supply chain, like General Dynamics, Nike, and Unilever. Proposed use cases are vast, but many focus on resiliency and sustainability. For example, a job description at Microsoft states new hires will need to “leverage blockchain and web 3.0 technology to make our supply chain ecosystem stronger and more resilient.” A Unilever post uses the term “sustainability tracing blockchain.” Likewise, a director of traceability position at PVH requires the candidate to be “familiar with various technical traceability methodologies and technologies including, but not limited to, chain of custody document verification, fiber forensic testing, and blockchain.” 

In a recent Signal post, Zero100’s Lauren Acoba laid out five steps to advance the sourcing function within your organization. Digital skills are included in each of Lauren’s recommendations and are the building blocks for what we call 0-100 Sourcing. Look to peers like Walmart and Maersk who are making strides in automation and traceability, respectively, and make sure you’re not falling behind on blockchain. 

To see a different data cut or to dig deeper into this topic, reach out to our Head of Research Analytics, Cody Stack, at  


Zero100’s proprietary data and analytics are a combined effort between our data scientists and research analysts. We provide data-first insights matched with our own research-backed points of view and bring this analysis to life via real-world case examples being led by supply chain practitioners today.   

For this study, we looked at 2.8 million LinkedIn job posts from 175 B2B and B2C companies. Our analysis categorizes listings based on mentions of specific digital skills within job titles and descriptions.