Talent — Got It (and Can You Keep It)?

I recently completed an investigation and analysis of certification and training options in the procurement and sourcing areas. What I found might surprise a number of Spend Matters readers -- the options and types of certification and training programs have evolved considerably in recent years, affording an excellent opportunity for companies to upgrade their skill sets by focusing on internal development as much as external hiring. Given studies like this from E&Y (courtesy of Industry Week), improved education options could not be coming at a better time.

For the struggle to find and develop talent capable of managing through the highly volatile commodity price environments -- not to mention the myriad of new responsibilities that procurement must now own up to -- is one of the top two challenges, according to a recent E&Y study, that organizations must tackle. According to Industry Week’s analysis of the study, attracting and retaining talent was cited by 30% of respondents as one of the largest issues that will "impact sourcing functions in the next two years. In fact, it is also the second biggest barrier to managing change, cited by 39% of respondents … Only 11% of respondents are confident in being able to attract and retain the required talent."

The fact that talent retention, development and management is a top issue for procurement today should come as no surprise to Spend Matters readers. However, I'm quite surprised that so few organizations that I talk with about talent have a strong view about how to invest in the training and education of their team members. But figuring out which options are best suited to a particular organization does not have to be difficult. Whether training and education involves active participation and accreditation in programs like ISM, CIPs or CAMC or third parties such as Next Level Purchasing or the American Purchasing Society -- or options offered by firms like Accenture and AT Kearney -- the opportunities and approaches are quite numerous indeed. Stay tuned for further analysis of these options on Spend Matters in the coming weeks.

- Jason Busch

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