PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

Attracting Graduates into Procurement

I’ve spoken with many Procurement Leaders over the course of 2017, and there seems to be one significant focus at the top of the agenda as we move into 2018 – how can we attract and then retain fresh, high calibre talent into the industry?

A good question, and one that truly deserves consideration – how can we better raise the profile of Procurement in education and propose it as a viable career path for graduates entering the job market? Procurement as a career path is still in its infancy compared to other more established functions such as accounting or finance – both of which are covered extensively in the majority of University courses. I can honestly say that as a recent(ish!) graduate, I was not aware of Procurement, nor taught about it through a 3 year Business Management Degree. Yet, Procurement has enjoyed a substantial boost in terms of importance and visibility within most businesses over the last decade, so it seems sensible to conclude that we must use the momentum to further increase the awareness and visibility for students coming through the higher educational route.

 

Of course, beanbag chairs and corporate swag may seem like an obvious way to attract millennials into the profession, but graduates are looking for something a lot more substantial when job shopping. This was the overwhelming consensus of a recently released 2017 Universum Talent Survey which polled more than 70,000 undergraduate students on topics such as salary expectations, career trends and what they look for in an ideal organisation.

 

As leaders in the industry consider implementing targeted hiring strategies to further develop their talent landscapes, they should consider harnessing and promoting the following organisational attributes that would significantly enhance their retrospective organisations. Firstly, “Inspire Purpose” – allow your Procurement talent to solve real problems, give them facetime with key stakeholders and demonstrate how their contribution is positively enhancing the shared objective. Secondly, “Create a dynamic environment” – professionals want to thrive among forward-thinking individuals in a workplace that fosters and champions collaboration and innovation. Lastly, “Create opportunities for leadership” – Procurement talent recognises that compensation will commensurate with responsibilities and as such, the focus is on obtaining more opportunities to take the lead of both projects and people. Implementing such strategies will make your team an attractive opportunity to any graduate assessing the market.

 

In my experience, many organisations currently have strategies in place to attract talent once the talent recognises and identifies them – but little has been documented as to how we can enhance the profile of Procurement and make it a visible and viable career path for graduates entering the market. Does the responsibility to push the profile of Procurement through the educational system sit with influential leaders in the industry? Or perhaps accredited bodies that could offer external courses as part of university modules? I personally think that this should be a collective effort, from top to bottom, from recruiter to CPO – celebrating and promoting the profile of Procurement can only benefit the industry moving forwards and with multiple studies proving strong growth year upon year, it is only a matter of time until Procurement is seen as a widely promoted and viable career path for post graduates. One certainty is that the fight for top talent will continue throughout 2018 and beyond…

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Hayley Packham