Finding procurement professionals with the right skills and retaining them is an industry-wide challenge, according to the CIPS/ Hays Salary Guide 2016.
Salary was identified as an important factor for 70% of people when asked why they would move jobs, but when asked why they stayed, 30% said because they enjoyed their current job, while 35% wanted to retain their work-life balance.
What this is driving at, insists Rich Cook, director at JCA Global and a chartered business psychologist, is the importance of job satisfaction, and how we engage with clients and colleagues and present ourselves in the workplace.
Speaking at a launch event Cook said: “Eighty per cent of procurement leaders believe soft skills training would help them perform better and have a major impact on their performance at work.”
Yet worryingly, 42% of respondents in a survey said they had never had any soft skills training, although they believe it would be beneficial.
Brian Davy, director of non-production purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover said communication skills are highly sought after within his organisation.
“We value good communicators with excellent commercial skills. These attributes are needed in our professional staff in order for them to be able to represent the company in its business dealings with suppliers, as well as being effective JLR team contributors.”
Cook concurs that employers need to develop their employees’ emotional intelligence (EI), as well as their analytical skills, if they want grow their workforce.
“One of key challenges facing the procurement profession is retention, but you can’t just pay people more to get them to stay. Work-life balance is an interesting option, as is personal development, but how we respond to this depends on our emotional intelligence,” he said.
David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, agrees that EI should be factor more prominently on employers’ agendas. “It’s clear we now need to help members get greater access to these skills and we’re excited to work with JCA to help members with this,” he said.
In other words, it’s good to talk. And it might just be the key to holding onto your staff… so long as they have a good salary, of course.