Many industries are facing a shortage of talent, but this sector is facing an unprecedented crisis when it comes to its people meaning recruiters in supply chain and procurement are having to rise to the challenge of matching job seekers to roles quickly. However, it isn’t just one issue that’s having an impact on talent in this sector. Instead, it’s a variety of obstacles that businesses need to overcome in order to find the talented professionals they need.
According to a UK Commission for Employment and Skills study, 45% of the procurement and supply chain workforce are aged 45 and over, with just 9% aged 25 and under. An ageing workforce inevitably means that the most experienced and skilled procurement and supply chains workers will be reaching retirement in a relatively short amount of time. Without younger employees to take their place, companies will lack the middle and upper managers they need to thrive.
In addition to this, Brexit is affecting the industry in a significant way. Not only has the number of workers in the UK dropped since the free movement has been limited, but supply chains have been severely disrupted with an incoming raft of rules and regulations.
While the effects of COVID-19 on the supply chain will be long-lasting, the impact of Brexit, combined with a decreasing workforce, means that the sector is lacking in talented, skilled and experienced professionals at a time when it needs them most.
For companies, it’s vital to find effective ways to overcome the talent shortage. While effective procurement and supply chain professionals can streamline operations, reduce costs and maximise profits, they’re also integral to the functioning of a business as a whole. Due to this, businesses must take a variety of steps to overcome the talent shortage, such as:
First and foremost, the sector needs to ensure that a career in procurement and supply chain management is an enticing choice for school leavers and university graduates. With a range of apprenticeships and graduate schemes, companies can ensure they’re attracting the best calibre of candidates.
Working with a specialist recruitment agency can be one of the fastest and most effective ways for companies to acquire the talent they need. From advertising to headhunting, procurement and supply chain recruiters can pre-screen candidates to ensure they fit the bill and enable businesses to hire talent swiftly.
Technology gives companies the opportunity to function with a reduced workforce, which could be critical to overcoming the talent shortage in the procurement and supply chain industry. By using the latest tech to streamline operations, companies can reduce the number of staff they need while optimising outputs and reducing costs.
While acquiring talent is essential, retaining and nurturing in-house talent is vital too. When businesses provide career development opportunities to staff and create an enviable working environment, they can limit employee turnover and ensure that they can get the maximum benefit from their procurement and supply chain team.
With the impact of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic still keenly felt throughout the sector, it will be some time before the procurement and supply chain industry reach a status quo. in the meantime, businesses will be forced to embrace new innovations and alternative methodologies as they create, attract and retain a talented, specialist workforce. There is some good news in that the UK economy is recovering faster than any EU or Western nation than predicted, therefore, this could attract more skilled workers at home and abroad.