Many employees faced uncertainty in their jobs as large parts of the economy shut down in the wake of the pandemic.
Organisations around the world paused recruitment activity and millions of full-time office workers began working from home, changing their operations practically overnight.
This experience has shown that working from home is possible in many roles, and as a result employees are keen to explore this, Zofia Bajorek, senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, told SM.
“Employers have to begin to understand this and could use this as a way to diversify their team – in terms of skills, gender and ethnicity. Employers may also be able to widen their circles of searching scope for certain roles,” she said.
In a post-Covid world, employers are looking for employees who are flexible both in terms of current working practices, but also in terms of what they may need in terms of hybrid working, job crafting and skills development in the future.
“Employers will be looking for employees who are willing to adjust to different methods of working, who can remain productive and engaged through changing organisational needs,” Bajorek added.
Martin Smith, managing director at Talent Drive, told SM easing lockdowns had led many procurement professionals to think more long term about their futures.
“Organisations have adjusted to ‘the new normal’ and have a clearer sight of projects and their businesses longer term plans, therefore giving people more confidence to begin looking in the market. This all comes down to buyers' confidence; if other procurement professionals in their organisation and network are moving roles it creates more job opportunities,” he said.
Smith said flexible working is now often the first question asked by procurement candidates, ahead of the salary and benefits package that are on offer.
“People have enjoyed spending less time commuting and more time with their families and that’s something that the majority of the procurement community want to retain when looking for a new role.” he added.
For employers, Smith said there had been an increased focus on soft skills and behaviours over technical category experience.
“People can be taught which suppliers to go to but the soft skills in terms of someone’s ability to engage and influence stakeholders in a collaborative way is the number one skill desired.
“There has been a shift on organisations looking outside their sector when looking for candidates as procurement experience is very transferable,” he added.
Smith shared his top three pieces of advice for procurement professionals looking to change jobs:
1. Be honest with yourself on what your key driver is when changing roles. Whether it is money, wanting to change sector or manage a team, make sure you are clear and honest with yourself and don’t compromise.
2. When reviewing a potential employer, always make sure you understand how procurement is perceived in the organisation at the moment. You should get a feel through the interview process on what procurement’s expectation is but you want to make sure you know what you are going into.
3. Diversify your category/industry experience as much as you can – particularly if you have ambitions to be a CPO or procurement director. A candidate who can demonstrate they are agile and can work across multiple category/industry areas is always going to have the edge over a candidate that hasn’t. Be brave, take yourself outside your comfort zone and try something new… you may surprise yourself.
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