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What are the most urgent skills gaps procurement managers need to solve?

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

Ultimately, every procurement manager’s success relies on having a great team behind them. Therefore, it is vital you take the time to regularly assess the skillsets your team currently possess and identify any skills gaps. This will put you in a good position to plan your next move to overcome any gaps.

Identify the skills most important for your team to possess

When assessing the skills of your team, you will need to make sure they are aligned with your department’s priorities and the overall strategy of the organisation. Our latest salary guide and insights 2018 report, produced in partnership with CIPS, identifies the skills most in demand by job level, and we found that skills that involve ‘emotional intelligence’ continue to grow in importance across all levels of seniority.

The ability to negotiate effectively ranks highly at almost every level of seniority, as do influencing and supplier relationship management skills. Communication and soft skills are almost always the most sought after skillset for procurement professionals at any stage of their career. Bear this in mind when thinking about the strengths of your existing team members. Soft skills are harder to teach than technical skills, so a professional with strong soft skills but less experience may be the better hire over someone with more technical skills.

If you do identify any skills gaps in your team, there are a number of options available for you to overcome these.

Permanent recruitment

The obvious way to fix a gap in skills is to hire someone new with the skills you need. Having taken the time beforehand to identify the skillset you are missing will greatly enhance your ability to find the right person for the role the first time around. When recruiting for new staff, think about how you can keep great prospective candidates engaged throughout the application process.This can include keeping your time to hire to a minimum and promoting the information most important to prospective candidates, such as insights into your workplace culture and the organisation’s brand values.

Temporary professionals

If your needs are more pressing, you can turn to the temporary workforce. Hiring temporary professionals will have an instant impact on your team, bringing new perspectives and the skills you need in a timely manner. Temporary hires will be able to cover skills gaps in the short-term, or when you’re facing unexpected project demands.

Training

You can also consider upskilling members of your existing team. This can be more cost-effective than hiring new members to your team, although does take more time to complete. Clearly identifying the gap in skills in your team will enable you to find the right training to upskill that team member.

For further insights into salaries and bonuses, benefits and what is driving employee movement in the procurement profession, download your copy of the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2018 report.

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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