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Four focus areas to improve diversity in procurement

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

We continue to see procurement rise to be more valued within organisations. While this is creating more opportunities for procurement professionals, employers are having to face an environment where demand for talented professionals outstrips supply. In our latest salary and recruiting trends survey, over three-quarters say they have experienced skills shortages in the last year, and this is proving to cause considerable difficulties.

To meet the challenge, we often advise employers to consider casting a wider net outside of their ‘normal’ recruitment circles when searching for procurement professionals. One of the most obvious, yet relatively untapped resource, is that of female professionals.

Diversify your teams

Hiring more women into procurement will lead to diversification of teams and idea generation. This in itself brings a number of benefits, including greater innovation, better financial performance, improved candidate attraction and a boost to workplace culture, leading to increased chances of staff retention. But what can you do to encourage more women to apply to your organisation?

Our CIPS/Hays Salary Guide 2017 has highlighted the top factors most important to women when searching for a new role, and we found that several key factors were more important to women than men. Getting these right can therefore help your organisation to stand out against the competition, and encourage more women to apply for your roles.

1. Salary: Gender pay gaps are dominating the headlines at the moment, due in part to the new Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation. Unfortunately, procurement has gaps of its own that it needs to overcome, especially in more senior positions. This may be contributing to a greater percentage of women than men saying salary is their top most important factor when considering a new role. Undertake salary benchmarking to make sure salary offering is in line with others in the market and is competitive enough to attract the talent you need.

2. Location of the role: Nearly three-quarters of women working in procurement say that location is an important factor to them when considering a new role, over 20% more so than men. Be up-front when advertising the job about where it will be located and, if you don’t already, consider offering flexible working opportunities to make your role more attractive to those who might otherwise be put off by the commute.

3. Career progression, training and development: The joint third most important factor was career progression and that the company is committed to staff training and development. There is no doubt that career development is important to procurement professionals, as evidenced in our What Workers Want 2017 report, which showed that nearly two-fifths of procurement professionals would decline a job if training and development were not offered. Any investment your organisation makes towards training, such as that offered by CIPS, can be a big asset when trying to recruit more women into your workforce, so be sure to promote this clearly when recruiting for a role.

4. Company reputation: Completing the top most important factors to women in procurement is the reputation of the company. Be clear on the brand values of your organisation and ensure your team enact these values in their day-to-day work. Invest enough time to build a positive reputation and make your brand values clear on your organisation’s website. Also make sure your hiring managers are comfortable to discuss these brand values at interview so that candidates are fully aware at this crucial decision making stage.

Improving diversity in procurement will no doubt prove to be an important aspect of overcoming growing skills shortages. Adapt your recruiting strategy accordingly to alleviate skills gaps in your organisation and help to build a pipeline of talent for the future.

Hays is pleased to have achieved the National Equality Standard (NES), one of the UK’s most rigorous and prestigious accreditations for equality, diversity and inclusion. Our reports are designed to help other organisations achieve their diversity goals.

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.

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