How To Attract and Identify Top Talent in Procurement and Supply

We welcome this post from Ross Mingotti, a Managing Consultant within the Procurement and Supply Chain practice at Michael Page.

When companies begin the hiring process for a new role, two of the most difficult stages are attracting the right people and identifying the most suitable candidates. The challenge in the procurement and supply chain sector is that we are currently operating in a candidate-short market. While there is a whole array of professionals who have worked in the sector, many have not been working at a strategic level, or do not possess the right skills for an ever evolving sector.

Attracting the best candidates 

Many procurement and supply chain professionals are looking to join a company where the procurement function is really valued at senior level and talented candidates are looking to join companies where they can make an impact on the day-to-day running of the business. Procurement professionals strive to be seen as valued commercial business partners rather than a back office function processing payment orders. It is therefore important for companies to recognise the need for procurement professionals to engage with stakeholders and shape strategies, rather than stay behind the scenes.

Standing out in a competitive market

To appeal to top talent in today’s market, it is important for businesses to tell a story. Employers must move past the traditional process of simply talking about the job - you need to sell your long-term strategy.

Professionals want to know:

  • How your procurement team contributes to the overall function of the company.
  • What your main goals are and how your current strategy will achieve these goals.
  • How the new role will fit into your long-term strategy.

There are so many different career opportunities for procurement professionals today, which means that you need to differentiate yourself from your competition and sell your opportunity to candidates, just as much as they need to sell themselves to you.

Advice for hiring in the procurement and supply chain sector:

Partner with a trusted recruiter

When hiring for the more difficult-to-fill positions, partner with agencies that you are willing to work closely with. It is important that you trust your agency and listen to their advice on the market.

Have a clearly defined role

It is crucial that you have a clear idea of what the role is, signed off by key stakeholders, and that you understand where that role fits in your journey.

Discuss career progression

Be sure that you are prepared to provide professionals with insight into the career progression within your business. What is their development going to look like? What is the role after this one?

Offer the right salary

If you have the budget to pay for top talent, then pay it. Be open to paying what is fair and needed in today’s market.

Keep the candidate engaged

Move at speed and make them feel valued. Do an office tour to introduce your preferred candidate to the team. This positive first impression of your business will mean that they will be more likely to share their experience with their wider network.

As a candidate in the current market, it is important to keep track of how the industry is evolving. As procurement and supply chain functions continue to adopt AI and automated process into their day-to-day operations, there is an increasing focus on how to integrate these new technologies into existing teams. In order to remain ahead of the competition you should be able to identify the top skills currently shaping the industry.

Automotive purchasing – hybrid powertrains

As there is now a significant obligation for the industry to supply hybrid and battery-powered cars, the need for professionals with experience and expertise in automotive purchasing, particularly with hybrid powertrains, has increased significantly.

New product introduction (NPI)

As demand for the newest and most innovative products continues to grow, and technology continues to evolve, professionals skilled in NPI are highly coveted. These skills are key to ensure growth and profitability for any business.

Supply and demand planning

Next day deliveries are mostly now considered the standard in the fast-paced, consumer-focused market of today. As more people choose to make their purchases via online platforms, more people are needed to manage this process and balance what is ordered, with what is available.

Extended category management

It is essential that procurement and supply teams have professionals who are experienced in purchasing essential services to support the function, such as external marketing or professional services.

Looking forward, as the industry continues to evolve, the core skill sets of procurement professionals will also change, and as industry professionals, awareness of these skills will set you ahead of competitors.


Disclaimer: the opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Spend Matters.

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