Training cost deters firms from graduate investment

7 March 2013

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7 March 2013 | Anna Reynolds

The cost of training graduates in procurement roles, and the lack of a guarantee they will stay with the company once trained, is putting many businesses off hiring university leavers.

Speaking at the Procurement Talent event in London yesterday, Nigel Heap, managing director UK & Ireland at recruitment business Hays said there are significant shortages of procurement candidates for roles, with a lack of IT, marketing, HR and facilities management category management skills. But he added the cost of training graduates, with no guarantee they will stay with that company, is putting many businesses off developing their own staff.

Heap said: “You have to persuade people it is a rewarding career and be more flexible in hiring. The recruitment process is too slow as companies are bogged down in HR and this puts uncertainty in candidates who are then turning down jobs.”

According to Roger Davies, group head of procurement at Marks & Spencer, graduates demand more from their employers, but are worth the investment. “Generation x is not afraid to move on after a short period of time, they have less respect and want more from an employer, but they bring in value because they are more interested in what they can bring to a business.

“Companies should get to a point where no-one leaving is a problem and you have a recruitment plan backed up.”

Ashley Readshaw, CPO at AstraZeneca said retention is difficult: “Other companies are offering more senior positions so grads leave – how quickly do you stop seeing people as junior graduates?”

Chris Taylor, talent acquisition manager at SABMiller said: “If you’re a bright individual you can move through procurement very quickly because there is not a wide talent pool or competition.”

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