The Talent Search

New skills and capabilities will be in high demand as procurement moves away from traditional responsibilities.

Having the talent in place to execute effective procurement strategies is becoming a pivotal issue for many chief procurement officers (CPOs), according to a study from consulting firm Capgemini. The firm recently interviewed close to 100 senior procurement managers from a range of companies in all sectors and across the globe to discuss the key issues challenging today's procurement leaders. Not surprisingly, issues related to skills within the talent pool were raised by the majority of participants.

A prominent theme in the study relates to procurement's changing role within many organizations. It contends that the procurement function is moving away from traditional responsibilities such as order placement, expediting and transactional buying, to those more focused on strategic sourcing, category management and other value-added activities.

Of those surveyed, 69% of companies rate capability development as a clear area of activity during 2008, while 86% declare it as an area of likely activity. Of these organizations, almost one-third of respondents highlight it as one of its five most important issues.

Capgemini says that CPOs are becoming aware that many traditional buyers will not be capable of making the transition to new working practices and requirements. As a result, the pressure to recruit appropriate talent has intensified. In turn, this development has started to cause problems with the retention of top talent, as there is now strong competition between organizations vying for the same resources.

A number of respondents highlight that the talent challenge is not simply about retaining talent, but also to be able to identify the right talent in the first place.

The changing procurement climate and the rise of competition for top performers has uncovered weaknesses in the traditional practices, which magnify how critical this issue has become.

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