More Companies Select Lean Over Six Sigma

Fewer corporations seek employees with Six Sigma experience, but demand for lean talent increases.

Lean now dominates Six Sigma as the preferred continuous-improvement methodology among corporations, according to a study by The Avery Point Group, an executive search and recruiting firm for lean and Six Sigma talent.

The study of 3,500 recent online job postings shows demand for lean talent has surpassed Six Sigma by nearly 35%, up from an 11% margin in last year's study.

This is a dramatic shift from The Avery Point Group's 2005 inaugural lean and Six Sigma talent demand study that showed Six Sigma talent demand exceeding lean by more than 50%.

The study also shows only 41% of companies seeking lean talent expect candidates to possess Six Sigma knowledge as well, a requirement that has continued to decline in The Avery Point Group's more recent talent demand studies.

On the other hand, for those companies seeking Six Sigma talent, almost 55% are now requiring candidates to possess lean knowledge as well, a requirement that has steadily grown in its previous talent demand studies.

"For companies seeking lean practitioners, these results may be signaling a possible trend toward a decoupling of lean and Six Sigma, or at the very least a de-emphasis on Six Sigma as a core job requirement for lean talent," says Tim Noble, managing principal of The Avery Point Group. "It may also indicate that companies are instead opting to consolidate their limited resources around lean as a hedge against the steep challenges of today's economic climate, which they feel may be better served by Lean's more immediate and practical focus on waste, flow and flexibility."

In addition, this year's study focused on how requirements for certifications played into job specifications for lean and Six Sigma talent. This year's study found that companies that sought Six Sigma talent were almost 50% more likely to require some form of certification versus those companies seeking lean talent.

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