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3 ways to overcome procurement skills shortages

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

The Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide presents a positive picture of activity plans in procurement for the coming 12 months. Our findings show that over 50% of employers expect their organisation’s activity to grow in the year ahead, and over 60% plan to hire in the same timeframe.

However, within procurement, skills gaps have continued to manifest with 58% of employers telling us they have experienced moderate skills shortages over the last year. 20% of employers went even further saying they experienced extreme shortages.

Therefore, I am unsurprised to see that the top recruitment challenge for nearly three-quarters of employers continues to be a shortage of suitable applicants. With many procurement functions transitioning from a tactical to a strategic function, in order to improve processes and drive better cost efficiencies, a gap in skills has the very real potential to hamper these plans.

The impact of skills shortages

One of the more alarming statistics from our survey showed that half of employers have already seen an impact on the productivity of their team as a result of a lack of skills.

Procurement professionals are feeling the pressure, with 36% of employers seeing a negative impact on the morale of their employees due to the skills gaps in their organisation. This is a troubling figure and has the potential to further scupper activity plans. So how can employers overcome these challenges?

1. Make workforce planning a key strategic priority

Understand the range of workforce solutions which are available to you and consider the most appropriate options for your organisation. Be sure to factor in elements beyond immediate people needs, including risk mitigation and cost management, to put in place the most effective strategies for both the short and the long-term.

2. Become invested in your employer brand

A strong employer brand can help you to stand out from other organisations, and therefore better compete for talent. A strong employee value proposition is vital to achieving this. Benchmark your salaries to ensure they are competitive, and combine these with a tailored benefits package that resonates with the skilled professionals you are seeking.

3. Utilise contingent workers for more than just projects

Traditionally, temporary, interim and contract workers have been used to supplement projects where specific skillsets are required, or to meet peaks in demand. However, using them to a greater extent can help to alleviate some of the pressure from your current workforce, allowing growth plans to be sustained, targets to be met, and improved job satisfaction for permanent employees.

Find out further recruiting trends for the procurement profession, request your latest copy of the Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends guide, or view our previous reports and resources.

To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.

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