Lack of sector skills and experience is the biggest challenge © 123RF
Lack of sector skills and experience is the biggest challenge © 123RF

More than half of employers struggling to find procurement talent

26 April 2018

More than half (56%) of employers said they have struggled to find procurement talent in the last 12 months, according to the 2018 CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights.

This is an increase from last year’s report, when 51% of employers said they were struggling to find talent.

“Skills shortages remain prevalent,” said Scott Dance, procurement engagement director at Hays. “Most industries are going through a skills short market.” 

The top challenge for recruitment was lack of sector skills and experience, cited by 47%, and budget restraints, cited by 47%. Candidate salary expectations were a barrier for 40%, lack of technical skills for 32% and organisational fit for 27%.

Dance said employers should be careful not to “pigeonhole themselves” by only accepting applications from candidates who had already worked in their sector. “This makes it harder and really shrinks the talent pool. I see companies being more successful where they are more open minded and looking for transferrable skills.

According to the survey of more than 4,000 procurement and supply professionals, 60% of managers are expecting to hire in the next 12 months, down from 70% in 2017.

It also found that 30% of employees expect to move roles in the next 12 months. “If I was running a team, I’d be petrified [by that stat], given how hard it is to find good people.”

The most in-demand skills are softer skills like communication, cited by 82% in the private sector, 85% in the third sector and 79% in the public sector. 

“We are being asked more about communication internally,” said Dance. “It’s about getting stakeholders and internal teams aligned. Without getting them on board, you will struggle to get those deals delivered.” 

For candidates, the most important factor when choosing a new job remains salary (74%), but other areas also score highly. Location was cited as important by 71%, content of the work by 65% and career progression opportunities by 62%.

Dance advised employers to identify skills shortages in their teams and build talent from within, widen talent pools by thinking a bit differently and make sure salaries and benefits are competitive.

For individuals, he said: “Ensure your skills are up to date and make sure you are continually reading. Be proactive in building your career plan: it’s not down to your boss to do it for you. And develop your personal brand – make sure it’s aligned to what you want to do.” 

SM will be covering the full Salary Guide in depth in the May issue, out on 4 May. You can also request a copy of the full report from Hays.

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