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Can better communication overcome skill shortages in procurement?

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Procurement is facing an ongoing skills shortage that shows no sign of abating. According to the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2017, over half (51%) of employers faced challenges finding the right talent in the last 12 months. 47% said a lack of sector skills and experience was one of their top recruitment challenges (up from 35% in 2016), and a lack of technical skills is a growing recruitment issue, increasing from 18% in 2016 to 29% in 2017.

Luckily there is an opportunity at hand. Our What Workers Want Report discovered that procurement, manufacturing and logistics employees place high value on career progression and professional development, with 84% considering the continuing professional development (CPD) policies of a potential employer when assessing a role. This shows professionals are actively seeking development in order to bridge their own skills gaps.

Offering training support is a great way for employers to attract and retain motivated staff and help alleviate skill shortages in their organisation. However, communication issues appear to be inhibiting the ability of employers to promote their training policies effectively – 83% of employers say they discuss career progression opportunities with candidates at interview stage, but less than half (44%) of professionals recall this discussion taking place.

So what can employers do to improve communication with their procurement team and, in turn, help overcome the skill shortages in the profession?

Discuss career progression from the outset

With so few professionals recalling discussing career progression at interview, it is important to proactively bring this topic up with candidates at interview. Ensure that hiring managers or recruiters are fully informed of the career progression opportunities available, so candidates fully understand these from their first interaction with your organisation.

Create a two-way conversation

Our report shows that 43% of professionals expect a promotion within one to two years in a new role. But over half of employers (52%) say they plan to promote an employee in the same timeframe. This is good news for ambitious professionals, but not such good news for those who are unaware that they could be progressing more quickly than anticipated. Creating an open, two-way conversation with your team is therefore essential. Organise regular one-to-one meetings to put together a career plan with your employees, and openly discuss promotion opportunities. Revisit often to ensure that employees are on-track and remain bought into their development within your organisation.

Keep promoting training opportunities

Training is an important aspect of career progression, allowing professionals to bring their skills and experience up-to-date. But while 72% of employers say they offer support for third party training to their employees, such as that provided by CIPS, only 35% of employees agree. Couple this with the fact 70% would like to receive this kind of training support from a future employer, the need for employers to better promote available training is clear. Make use of internal communications, or make this a discussion point at your one-to-one team meetings.

Improving communication with your employees about career progression options and training support available can help attract and retain talented staff. Also it can broaden the expertise of your current team to help alleviate skills gaps and keep your best people from leaving.

Find out more about how to enhance your attraction and retention strategies for Procurement professionals in our What Workers Want Report, or sign up for our comprehensive What Procurement & Supply Chain Workers Want webinar.

For more information or to discuss your employment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.


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