Talent News

The Skills Gap in Procurement

The Skills Gap in Procurement

Tuesday 19th December 2017
Mandy Chippindale

In today's world of procurement with its ever changing and fast paced nature some professionals are been left behind in an identified Skills Gap.
The reasons for this skills gap are as follows:
1) Businesses are not aware there is a skill-gap and are not utilising the apprenticeship levy, educational/training budget effectively. This can be
There are some key clues in determining if your organisation is failing to see a skills-gap. These are:
• There is not an extensive history of training/qualification in the procurement team or even the business.
• There is a victim-culture in the procurement team, (it's not my fault, it's the suppliers etc)
• There continuous firefighting and seeing beyond the immediate tender and negotiation process doesn't happen.
• Seen as primarily administrative by end users and other cross functional team players.

2) Current skill sets are less than adequate and "thirty years - on the job" experience does not compensate for the rise in technological advances, professionals must be able to use this technology to be skills parallel to their younger contemporaries. There is also a shift in the Procurement vison and this places greater emphasis on soft skills and an inherent ability to see beyond the immediate issues. There is a need for a dynamic, multi skilled and interpersonal procurement professional.

3) Professional qualification alone is the exact opposite issue, having the theory but no practice to support will not enable the young academic to be able to handle the procurement environment efficiently. We all have to start somewhere and if you are an apprentice or Graduate, it is important that you are not placed in a position beyond your capabilities until you are ready. This is not to be condescending or patronising, I am a gest believer in effort and hard work paying off and sometimes sink or swim really is the best way to learn but ensuring well-being and building confidence will result in a more loyal and well-rounded employee.

How can we close the gap?
It is important that as a business, a manager, an individual you can recognise a skill gap, sometimes it can be across a whole business. This is the first step in closing the gap. A problem identified is a problem rectified. Look at the business goals as a whole, do these align with the procurement function? Do they align with the procurement individuals? Look at your competitors, how and what are they doing differently? Are they investing in their procurement function? In their training? In their education? Create a meritocratic environment that supports highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals so it rewards their development and encourages it. This will retain the staff which you have invested time and money in. This investment in people will cascade into the business, their hard work and intellectual value will maintain competitive market placement, resulting in financial and reputational gain.