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Attracting the procurement talent of the future

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Gary Noble Procurement, talent, development...

As a specialist procurement and supply chain recruiter, we are acutely aware of trends in the recruitment of procurement professionals. We recently conducted an analysis of over 300 job specifications to find out which are the skills most sought by employers; negotiation, networking, influencing, specialist category knowledge and internal promotion came out on top.

While these are mainly skills that have always been in demand for procurement professionals, the nuances of how these are applied in the role are changing. So what key skills will the procurement talent of the future possess and how can your organisation attract the very best employees?

A focus on value creation

Procurement professionals have always had to negotiate, but there’s now an increasing focus on value creation, rather than just cost. This requires the ability to spot and develop opportunities to deliver added value services at no extra cost. Procurement professionals need to be able to build a large network and have a really thorough understanding of the global supply base and services, as well as market trends within their category, so they can work together with suppliers to develop ways of adding value.

In order to get these added value services implemented, they’ll need to be able to sufficiently raise the profile of the procurement department within the business in order to get buy in from a range of different stakeholders for their proposals.

Integrating procurement

To attract procurement professionals with the skills required to deliver this value creation, organisations need to examine how they integrate procurement. The procurement team needs to be involved in purchases right from the start of the process, rather than simply being brought in later on to do the negotiating. The top talent in procurement will want the ability to influence decisions right from the very start, as this enables them to add far more value.

There is already a shortage of procurement talent, which is only likely to get more acute in the future. If organisations continue to see value creation as a mere cost consolidation exercise, they are likely to struggle to attract the best employees. The procurement talent of the future won’t be content spending all day simply negotiating costs with suppliers – they want to be able to add real value.

Talent development

Studies have consistently shown that millennials, the workforce of the future, care more about opportunities for professional development than perks or pay. But according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey, over a quarter of companies said they were spending less than 1% of their budget on training. Only those organisations willing to invest in developing their employees are likely to be able to attract highly-skilled and ambitious talent.

Companies also need to let their employees fulfil their potential. This generation has grown up with technology and have the skills and enthusiasm required to lead digital transformation projects. If organisations choose to corral their employees into fixed job roles and fail to see the potential in these people, they are highly likely to lose them.

If your company is looking for the procurement talent of tomorrow today, get in touch on 08432 163030 or enquiry@1st-executive.com to find out how 1st Executive can help.