Recognising the Procurement Talent of the Future

The traditional role of the procurement professional is changing and a new skill set is now required to manage the economic landscape in which we currently operate. As part of our Procurement Talent month, we are pleased to publish this article from Gerard Chick, Chief Knowledge Officer at Optimum Procurement Group looking at this new world of procurement talent and how to attract it to your business.

The role of the procurement professional is changing and the traditional transactional skills on which the function was built are no longer so important in today’s marketplace. For CPOs of the future to succeed, they will need to position themselves as entrepreneurial, brand-conscious and skilled analysts with bimodal capabilities. They also need to be able to demonstrate that, not only are they culturally aware with increased business acumen, but they have the ability to make sound commercial and analytical decisions.

An increased demand for procurement professionals to demonstrate a more strategic skill set is clear as businesses look to use their teams for more than spend management. The uncertain economic conditions we’ve faced have been one of the key drivers forcing a change to procurement roles and skills. Due to the volatility of commodity prices, we’re increasingly seeing senior business managers turn to procurement to help deal with these risks; however, there have been many situations where the CPO has found his team ill-equipped to rise to this challenge.

Too often, the skill set of a procurement professional remains tactical, while demands on the business and the strategic influence of procurement change in tandem. As a result this has changed the fundamental requirements of what being talented and professional in this sector means.

When looking to bring in new procurement talent, the business should be seeking out people who are collaborative, innovative, diligent optimisers with strong leadership skills. Perhaps these skills exist within your existing team and if they do, it’s time to nurture them and accelerate these individuals’ potential to greater things. For example, if one of the team has shown skill at sourcing a particular commodity their next step up the ladder may be to move into a different category or take the lead on special projects.

Don’t forget, you may be on the lookout for the best talent, but they’ll also be looking to you as a business to demonstrate what you have to offer them. In addition to a salary that is attractive in a competitive job market, will the scale and scope of the role you have on offer appeal to top talent? Also consider the position of your business in relation to other top employers in, or outside of, your particular sector.

CPOs and procurement managers must take responsibility for recruiting the brightest new talent and not just rely on their HR team to find the perfect candidate. They need to develop clear and appropriate job roles and invest the time and resource into finding the right person. Setting out clear paths for professional growth and advancement will enable your organisation to discover, nurture and retain the procurement talent it desperately needs.

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