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Filling the widening talent gap in procurement

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Posted on 27/04/2016 by Suzanne Elsdon

In recent years the value proposition of a CPO has shifted as the procurement team are being asked to do more for less or to do many different things within the same team.

As a result of these new demands, the 2016 Deloitte Global CPO Survey revealed that over 62% of CPO’s do not believe that their team have the necessary skills and capabilities to deliver the procurement strategy of their business.

The survey reported that CPO’s recognise what needs to be done is more focused partnering with the strategic business functions, greater insights derived from analytics and improved supplier relationships that are collaborative, innovative and sources of competitive advantage. The problem for CPO’s lies in actually finding a team and the resources to deliver the required activities.

The Deloitte Survey identified the following issues:

  • Under half of the CPO’s surveyed felt that attracting talent has become very difficult in the last 12 months and over a third have experienced cuts to their recruitment budgets. With this in mind, over 32% of CPO’s have a strong focus on retaining their existing talent.

  • Despite the above concerns, around 30% of CPO’s are still not prioritising talent development, with just under 1% of their budget spent on employee training. Therefore, the skills gap will continue to widen whilst the necessary investment in training declines.

  • If development and training doesn’t happen within the procurement function, businesses will increasingly populate the procurement organisation from other areas of the supply chain and beyond as they become disappointed with the talent available.

  • The survey showed that skills gap lies in general business acumen rather than technical competence. This suggests that in order to overcome this widening talent gap investment should be made not just in technical training but ways in which new assets and capabilities can be complimented by the existing talent pool.

What are the solutions?

  • Invest in your employer brand to help retain existing employees and also to attract new high quality talent.

  • Invest in training and development internally, on top of just technical training.

  • Look to source people from elsewhere in the supply chain.

  • Consider the use of contract and interim professionals who are procurement experts in their specific field to introduce the skills that are missing from your existing team.

As a specialist procurement recruitment expert, consultant Aimee Gleave comments on the issue, “We find that the most successful clients recognise procurement as a strategic function that adds real value and contributes to the achievement of the wider business objectives.

In situations where there is a skills gap internally, we look for candidates that have worked in other organisations where procurement has a place at the top table.

At a more senior level we find there is real value in recruiting people with a more diverse commercial background as these people bring new ideas with them and have a more holistic approach to the development of strategies that helps the company achieve it overall goals, such as growth, innovation and greater efficiencies”.

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