Procurement Talent: Exploring Company and Industry Lessons and Looking Ahead

One of the battles in getting new blood into procurement is making it interesting for those around it. In higher education, some organizations have used a data/science-based approach to appeal to key research personnel and to attract talent into the function. This is an approach that has also appealed to some pharma/biotech firms (e.g., Pfizer and Novartis have had great results from applying reverse auctions to various forms of molecules). Outside of sourcing, within financial services, job security is nearly guaranteed in procurement given the endless pool of third-party risk management work, which has the potential to dovetail with compliance initiatives as well.

Bringing in key executives from proven firms can also help attract new talent. For example, many of the executives who reported to Gene Richter from IBM have gone on to become CPOs themselves and have passed on that legacy of excellence to their staff. Similarly, many staff acquired by key pacesetter firms like GE in the industrial sector have risen through the ranks. The same is true with ExxonMobil within oil and gas.

Which firms will be the talent source in the future? Three candidates include Tesla in automotive, Amazon in retail and P&G in consumer packaged goods. Being a “known leadership proving ground” is a great way to attract talent. For younger employees, its the equivalent of working for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs and getting a stamp of approval on the resume – even if the stint is just a couple of a years.

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