Five tips for diverse talent pipelines

Procurement needs to have diverse talent pipelines in order to future-proof their businesses, buyers have been told.

Rioch Edwards-Brown, founder of So You Wanna Be In TV, a social enterprise that specialises in getting people from disadvantaged backgrounds into work, said financial obstacles were the main barrier to many young people accessing procurement careers.

Speaking at the Big Ideas Summit in London, Edwards-Brown said: “Financial disadvantage and class are the main barriers [to success], not ethnicity. This also is the case for procurement, which is also facing a skills gap and is now a huge part of the creative industries,” she said.

Edwards-Brown, who started her enterprise to create opportunities for young people in her community after her son was murdered in 2009, is now broadening her business to include constructing procurement talent pipelines.

Here are five top tips for building talent pipelines:

1. Take a top-down approach to diversity. “Make future-proofing and diversity part of the CEO and MD brief. The company will follow their lead, increasing diversity and future talent in a real and tangible way,” she said.

2. Put money into your local communities. “Sponsor and invest in diverse community partnerships, hubs, accelerators.”

3. Have an honest message – social media is only effective if you have already built trust. “Otherwise you’ll just be speaking to yourself very expensively”. Communication should be simple, authentic and fun. “We understand that procurement is a business not a party. We manage those expectations in the pipelines we build and how we interact with many industries,” said Edwards-Brown.

“But you have to find the imagination of young talent to know this industry is actually there and can provide them with a fantastic career and opportunities.”

4. Having a strong mentoring scheme will make your business “a magnet for diverse talent” and help maintain talent at all levels.

5. Ask for help. Edwards-Brown says her organisation’s grass-roots and community connections can help businesses create diverse talent pipelines.

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