CPOstrategy explores five ways CPOs can attract (and retain) top tier talent and why there is no one simple solution.

Only a small fraction—less than one-fifth—of procurement directors and executives are confident in the ability of their current talent pool to meet the future demands of their organisations’ procurement functions. While these leaders were relatively confident in their current talent pools, the survey revealed a significant drop in confidence levels when considering their ability to address future demands. 

The industry-wide talent shortage affecting procurement teams is driven by the compound forces of an increasing procurement workload, and the increasingly strategic nature of the field. Procurement is not just purchasing anymore; procurement professionals are expected to have greater business acumen, technical knowledge, and be “orchestrators of value” within the business. It is vital that the procurement leaders of today attract, retain, and develop the procurement professionals of tomorrow if they want to leverage the strategic potential of procurement beyond simple cost-containment. 

1. Competitive salaries

Offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract top talent. This is while demonstrating the value placed on procurement expertise within the organisation. There’s plenty of content out there focused on company values and work-life balance to attract talent without paying for it. But just as cost is still at the heart of procurement you still need to pay people what they’re worth.

2. Professional development opportunities 

Provide opportunities for continuous learning, skill development, and career advancement through training programs, certifications, and mentorship initiatives. Old attitudes concerning employee loyalty are disappearing faster than the housing market. Jobs that don’t provide room to grow will be vacant before long. 

3. Embrace flexibility

Remote and hybrid jobs attract seven times more applicants than in-person roles. Despite what some opinion columnists at Business Insider and Bloomberg say, no one wants to live and die in a cubicle. Casual Fridays are hell on earth, and managers who resist flexible working arrangements need to face up to the fact that they are not only fighting a losing battle, but also hindering their company’s hiring potential in the process.

4. Foster a collaborative environment 

Create a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture that encourages teamwork, innovation, and open communication. It is about fostering an environment where top talent can thrive and contribute their best. Businesses that practice DEI give themselves access to new and diverse perspectives. This is especially essential in an era of increased supplier diversity and nearshoring. 

5. Use tech and make a big deal out of it

Getting the chance to apply cutting edge digital solutions to real-world problems is what people get excited about. By highlighting your organisation’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technologies and innovative procurement practices, your procurement roles will seem appealing to those eager to embrace new tools and methodologies. Successfully (and visibly) leveraging technology will also help combat the fact that, when it comes to recruiting younger staff, procurement’s reputation as a back-office function can hold it back. Leveraging AI, big data, and automation successfully can be highly impactful in boosting the function’s profile.

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