With 2015 just around the corner, many procurement professionals will be looking ahead and considering their next career move.
But in a fast evolving sector and a competitive job market, what skills and talents will help you stand out when searching for a procurement job?
Research by the European Institute of Purchasing Management (EIPM) has previously summarised the skills Chief Procurement Officers predict will be most valuable in future.
The competencies deemed vital for 2015 were a blend of analytical and 'soft' skills:
- Strategic thinking
- Total cost of ownership analysis
- Supply market analysis
- Teamwork skills
- The ability to influence and persuade
- Change management
Many of the skills highlighted underline the increasing importance of 'looking at the bigger picture' – taking an integrated view of the business as a whole and implementing strategic changes. Other skills meanwhile are interpersonal, enabling procurement managers to form better relationships with suppliers and stakeholders. Both areas are set to be crucial in 2015, as more is expected of the procurement function, and more collaboration is required to build profitable supplier relationships.
Filling the skills gap
In summer 2014, ProcureCon Europe quizzed 120 purchasing professionals on the desirable skills missing within their teams. The top three results were:
- Relationship management (60.3%)
- Risk analysis (51.7%)
- Supply chain analysis (39.7%)
Meanwhile when asked about their key challenges for the year ahead, respondents cited issues related to change management, efficiency and talent development. Two thirds of those surveyed believed the importance of procurement within the business would increase over the next three years.
Again, the results highlight the increasing importance of both highly developed analytical skills and interpersonal abilities.
Candidates looking to increase their desirability to employers in 2015 might therefore plan to undertake CPD or CIPS training in these key areas, or try to draw attention to these skills on their CV or at interview.
Procurement recruitment specialist Pat Law commented:
"It is clear that style is still on the agenda and highly rated alongside skill. The simple fact is that while the role of a procurement professional needs carrying out with efficiency, direction and showing tangible results, the way it is actually done continues to be critical that the way it is actually done, the internal and external interactions and the reputation of the procurement team within an organisation are vitally important. The idea of a “results at all costs” mentality will not stand up to examination; those results need to be delivered in a way that continues to embed procurement into a corporate agenda and of course as a valued partner for vendors."
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