A new report from the Hackett Group outlines how rapidly and fundamentally the nature of supply chain and procurement jobs is changing in the digital era. It forecasts that the existing talent gap will become a veritable gulf in the next few years unless serious steps are taken now to prevent it.

Procurement’s transition to becoming an essential business role has raised its profile and value but has also brought new challenges. It is expected to eschew its original tactical function and ‘go strategic’ by using emerging analytics tech and data-driven remedies.

However, 39% of executives in Hackett’s latest study identified the availability of critical, digitally-savvy procurement talent as a ‘high risk’ in their endeavours to undertake commercially-necessary digital transformations. The talent supply, in other words, isn’t keeping pace with demand.

The study proposes a series of integrated talent management measures that should forestall the danger of a talent famine and commercial failure.

  1. Organisations should use needs assessments to identify the skills gaps they anticipate widening in the coming years and then build a pipeline for meeting them.
  • To help meet the demand for new digital skills in new-gen procurement jobs, larger companies should start re-assigning and re-skilling employees while simultaneously implementing “lifelong learning opportunities that foster critical skills at all career levels.” This way, businesses put their resources to good use in building the new skills required for procurement’s changing responsibilities.
  • A new, more dynamic approach to hiring is needed. This may entail larger firms tapping the know-how of specialist third-party procurement and supply chain recruitment services, and making partnerships with colleges and universities to supply the needed influx of skilled, tech-savvy talent.
  • Finally, companies must build attractive career development pathways to draw in and retain the tech-savvy procurement talent they need.

The study concludes with a warning shot: “IT procurement functions that are not taking action now will find themselves struggling to deliver on evolving enterprise objectives.”