Recent graduates often make promising hires, especially for organizations who tech-savvy younger workers for their supply chain departments. At the same time, unemployment rates are at an all-time low and finding and attracting the right candidates can be challenging.
Today, the availability of college grads is at a record low. It might be easier to catch a purple unicorn.
“Talent is an amazingly interesting thing for procurement,” said Steve Hall, director of content and community at analyst firm Procurement Leaders. “It’s a challenging job that is changing fast, and organizations need to adapt. There are interesting roles being created but they are struggling to get the talent they need.”
Among people age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more education, the unemployment rate was 2.1% in April 2018, slightly lower than the rate of 2.4% a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, the general unemployment rate was 3.9% in April.
Part of the problem is that, as a career path, supply chain remains nearly invisible to many college students. “Procurement and supply chain have a marketing issue,” said Hall. “At many academic institutions, students don’t know what procurement is or how it works.
To attract the cream of the crop, some leading organizations are focusing on attracting, developing and retaining talent in order to close the gap. Some are, for example, creating rotational programs where supply chain and procurement professionals have an opportunity to move through several different roles, serving six months in each. In the end, often, people are much clearer about where their passion meets the needs of the organization. Some companies are also creating “road shows,” said Hall. “It’s a deliberate strategy to visit other offices and demonstrate what the procurement organization does. The deliberate focus on marketing is key.” Others have begun offering employees procurement academies. “We are seeing organizations set up centers of excellence in order to train individuals with the potential to do something more,” Hall said.
Read more: Attracting Supply Chain Superstars
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