Young people are turning to professional networking to progress their careers, finds report
Young people are turning to professional networking to progress their careers, finds report

Managers are failing to support staff

1 December 2017

Research shows bosses need to look at the ways in which they communicate, and do more to gain the trust of junior employees, according to a survey of procurement professionals.

A survey of over 500 procurement professionals has revealed a new breed of workers who are proactively managing their careers. Hugo Britt, content director at online platform Procurious, says young people are turning to professional networking for career progression, rather than to their managers.

With almost half of respondents planning to move jobs in the next two years, and just under 40% to leave their employer in the same period, the results of the Procurious Gen Next survey highlight a potential retention problem.

Senior staff at CPO and principal level, as well as junior staff, rated networking as most important for advancing their career, whereas staff at senior and intermediate level said that on-the-job performance is most important, with networking second. Technical knowledge was rated third by all job levels, and more important than their boss’s opinion of them.

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More than half (54%) of respondents don’t believe their boss has their best interests at heart, with comments such as: “My boss is less qualified and leans on me for knowledge”, and “my boss is terrific but it’s up to me to seek opportunities”.  Professionals need to seize control of their career advancement, concludes the report, while managers need to be incentivised to support and progress those who report directly to them.

The most trusted careers advice comes from a mentor (30%), with 15% preferring advice from peers. However, another 15% said that they trusted no one for advice.

This is further compounded by the respondents’ inability to access key individuals who can help with their career progression, with 37% rating it as their biggest hurdle – 21% lacking a champion  and 16% lacking access to a mentor.

As well as supporting staff, procurement managers also need to get better at communicating the need for change, and make use of a more diverse set of tools to do so, according to the research.

It found that half (51%) of procurement professionals only rate their manager as ‘OK’ when it comes to communicating the need for change.

“Given that change management is an integral part of many senior roles in the profession, this perception should be improved,” said the report.

The research also found that most respondents do not feel their managers are using the full suite of communication tools available when driving change. Three-quarters (75%) said their manager only sends an email, rather than using multiple approaches like face-to-face briefings, social media or online collaboration tools.

Tania Seary, founding chairman of Procurious, said: “Gen Next is engaging in social media. They connect and share online with people across the world. [Businesses] need to offer these tools.”

The survey found that only 23% of respondents had crowd-sourced a solution to a problem on social media, but 76% believed this would bring in diverse ideas.

“Business issues are too big for one person to tackle alone,” said Seary. “To shock-proof our profession we need to move out of our silos and connect. Many hands can cope with disruption.”

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