Millennials “put off” procurement industry due to “frozen middle” and technological barriers

Key names in the procurement industry have claimed that more needs to be done to attract and keep hold of talented millennial staff in the procurement profession.

Speaking at the Big Ideas Summit, Lucy Harding, partner and head of the global procurement and supply chain practice at Odgers Berndtson, said that many millennials are choosing not to pursue careers in procurement thanks to the “frozen middle”.

This term, created by Nik Gowing, visiting professor at King’s College, University of London, refers to middle managers who are unable to embrace change, in this case in regards to technology.

Lucy said:“There is amazing talent out there, but once they start to think about progression, the middle level at many organisations can appear unattractive.”

The human approach

It has now been claimed that a more human approach is needed to attract younger talent, including the use of social media platforms popular among millennials. Harding believes that younger talent expects the latest technological advances in all industries, highlighting the current issue of the digital transformation of the supply chain. She continued:

“Millennials aren’t going into companies and demanding to have the latest technology, as digital natives they expect it.”

Modern communication

Elizabeth Linder, politics and government specialist at Facebook EMEA, who also spoke at the conference, claimed employers must change the way they communicate with their millennial staff if they want to attract and retain the best talent. She said:

“Our traditional leaders are really bad at turning outward to make decisions to take them forward. They’re too worried about perfecting their soundbites, and it’s no longer as effective as it once was.

“As we start to open up, we actually work better together, more profoundly. It creates trust.”

The speakers at the Big Ideas Summit proved that if the future of the procurement industry is in the hands of the millennials, to attract and retain the best talent the profession needs to adapt and evolve both technologically and communication wise.

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