The Great Procurement Talent Gap is a concept that I have spoken about with many colleagues in the past 12 months. Recently I came across a guest blog post on Spend Matters called Procurement’s Growing Divide: Talent Inequality
Written by Naseem Malik, managing partner at MRA Global Sourcing, the article does an excellent job at outlining the current economic conditions surrounding the job market in the context of the current talent squeeze being experienced in Procurement departments.
Growth in Procurement Jobs
At the beginning of the article, Malik explains that there more job openings at corporations in professional services than there are qualified applicants. This fact seemed interesting to me considering all of the news that I have heard regarding layoffs and cutbacks.
As the labor market continues to tighten, especially in the professional services sector, attracting and retaining supply management talent is still at a premium. Just last week the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that, for the first time since the economic recovery, there are more middle-wage jobs open than not — and these openings are outpacing both higher- and lower-paying ones. The New York Fed also said there are approximately 5.6 million job openings in the U.S., which is good news for job-seekers and a strong sign that companies remain in hiring mode.
Procurement Departments are Strategic
From there, Malik goes further to connect the undeniable, rising trend that we are currently experiencing, where procurement departments are being looked at as “strategic” units within organizations. As we all know, once these units are deemed “strategic” their work product takes on a whole new level of stress and importance thus requiring more talented team members to fulfill the responsibilities.
With the ensuing recovery coupled with the rising stature of the procurement function, companies are experiencing a whole new level of stress when it comes to talent management. There’s a clear dichotomy between the proactively aggressive companies and the laggards as they both compete in an ever-shrinking pool of impact players. The former companies are cognizant that there are many factors at play when it comes to acquiring talent — including changing demographics, worker mobility resulting from real estate dynamics, dual income couples, work/life balance and compensation. The latter seem to focus mainly on the compensation piece.
Top Talent is in Short Supply
His conclusion is simple. The increase in demand for skilled procurement positions combined with an elevation in the functions of those departments will result in companies having to hire top talented people and pay them accordingly. Procurement departments are growing up and so is the talent level they require. Hence, The Great Procurement Talent Gap
No longer can organizations afford a slapdash campaign where they pay below market value and expect optimal outcomes with a candidate pool comprised of B and C players. Ultimately the disparity between A players and the rest will widen the inequality, so whether it’s grown organically or brought in externally, the key is that to win in today’s marketplace, companies need these talent superstars.
Expect Wages to Increase
I always love reading the articles from SpendMatters and I highly recommend this one. Procurement’s Growing Divide: Talent Inequality by Naseem Malik