How to attract the next generation of procurement talent
Procurement is constantly evolving. No longer a boardroom afterthought, businesses are increasingly aware of procurement’s power as a critical strategic business function that can drive decision making and add value in several different ways.
In many ways this evolution has led more professionals to choose a career in procurement. In fact, 49% of professionals actively chose to work in procurement last year. However, what will be critical for the sector going forward is its ability to attract talented individuals from younger generations with the skills and abilities to drive innovation.
What does next-gen talent want from an employer?
Before leadership can begin to work towards making procurement a more attractive career path for younger talent, it is important to consider the changing priorities of the next generation entering the workforce. There has been a shift in attitudes amongst Millennials and Gen Z that means what they value most from an employer is a sense of fulfilment and purpose in their work.
Other priorities amongst younger talent include:
- Greater flexibility in how they work
75% of Gen Z say that workplace flexibility is the top employee benefit they are looking for. This doesn’t just mean the ability to work remotely. Younger employees are interested in flexible career paths that allow them to move vertically or horizontally according to their interests and skill sets.
- Chances to make a difference and enact change
The potential to make a difference to the world is crucial for younger talent when choosing a career. In fact, 45% of Gen Z say they want to work for companies that work to change the world.
- Opportunities to learn and develop
Being able to access opportunities to upskill and having a clearly-defined career path are crucial factors when younger talent is choosing a career. In fact, 59% of Millennials and 76% of Gen Z see personal development as key when applying for a role.
- A digital-first organisation
Younger generations are digital natives. They have grown up with technology and find it easier to adapt to new technologies. They are also less tolerant of legacy IT systems and monotonous tasks when they know more efficient alternatives, such as automation, are available.
Strategies for attracting and retaining the next generation of procurement talent
So, how can businesses attract the newest generation coming into the workforce? We’ve structured five innovative strategies procurement leaders can employ to make procurement and supply chain careers more appealing to Millennial and Gen Z talent.
- Build defined career paths and development opportunities
Procurement and supply chain can appear to have a less-defined career structure in comparison with other areas of business. Leaders should ensure that young employees know what key skills and milestones they need to achieve to progress. This should be supported by clear opportunities for training and development, regular check ins and engagement with other business functions.
Express purpose in your employer brand
- Procurement is well-placed to offer young people the chance to make a difference through its role in supporting businesses environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies through the selection of suppliers and products.
To attract young talent, procurement leaders should focus on promoting the ability to make an impact through sustainable and ethical procurement practices as part of their employer brand.
- Re-evaluate ways of working
The world of procurement can seem rigid and traditional to younger employees just starting out. They value a healthy work-life balance, flexibility, and employers that care about their wellbeing. Businesses must look closely at their ways of working to ensure that they are not outdated and are in-tune with evolving lifestyle needs. Remote working, career flexibility, health and wellbeing are moving beyond being a workplace perk, now young professionals consider them to be a workplace norm.
- Use technology to facilitate new ways of working
Companies that embrace digital transformation and utilise digital tools to facilitate the automation of repetitive processes will find it easier to attract fresh young talent to the procurement function. Automation, AI, and video conferencing are set to free up employees to focus on more creative, innovative, and strategic concerns that tie in exactly with what younger talent values most.
- Increase the visibility of procurement and supply-chain as a career
Procurement needs to raise its profile as a viable career option amongst young people and graduates. Universities are increasingly offering degree level programmes that enable talented potential employees to hit the ground running, but businesses need to ensure they are visible in this competitive market. Cultivating a presence at career fairs and graduate events will go a long way to showing talented procurement graduates you are the best organisation for them.
Morgan Law help attract next-gen procurement talent
At Morgan Law, we can help source the procurement leaders of the future. We take the time to develop a full understanding of your requirements, meeting with you to discuss challenges and offer advice on the availability of talent in the market and how to improve your existing practices to cater for next-generation candidates.
Our established database of over 30,000 senior-level, highly-skilled professionals with significant experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors available on a permanent and contract basis enable us to deliver the highest quality recruitment solutions.