Thursday, 7 August 2014

Generation Y: An Untouched Procurement Goldmine?

Authored by Claire Herbert

As my internship with Tejari's sister company BravoSolution comes to an end and the fear of going back to complete my final year of uni (and writing that dreaded economics dissertation) shifts ever closer to becoming a reality, I thought I would reflect on my time in procurement.

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be working in the procurement industry, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Why? It wasn’t something I knew much about, nor was it an industry I’d ever really considered pursuing a career in.

And that got me thinking... was I the only one who felt like this?

Throughout the last year, I’ve asked various procurement professionals how they ended up in the industry, and the most common response by far was “I just kind of ‘fell into it’ I suppose..."

My curiosity led me further, surveying 100 students from various UK universities studying business, economics and/or finance degrees. The results were as follows:

Less than half of the 100 students even knew what procurement was, and only 12% said they would consider a career in it.

I went on to ask why they would/wouldn’t consider a career in procurement, and received a selection of answers:

“Buying things you don’t want but other people need sounds pretty dull”

"It seems to be a career path in which everything learned through economic work could be related and used"

“I don’t know what it is”

"Seems relatively interesting...Could be quite varied, but I don't know THAT much about it!"

“Sounds boring, but I wouldn’t say no without knowing what it is about”

“As a route into my eventual career”

There seemed to be two common themes among the answers in the survey: procurement is not attractive enough and, quite simply, not well-known enough.

How do I think we can make procurement sexier? Take a fresh perspective. The procurement industry has this label of being a back-office job, hidden behind stacks of paper-based contracts. We need to change that. Technology is vastly advancing in the procurement industry and we need to make sure we can keep up with it.

As Matthew Gradidge said in a previous post, “we are in the spotlight more than ever, what we do is becoming more and more high profile and relevant to the everyday running of an organization”. With increasing demand placed on the procurement function, we need to make sure we’re attracting the best talent available to deal with the technology and data at our fingertips. I believe such talent lies in the younger generation; an untouched goldmine.

Perhaps I’m biased as part of generation Y, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are we keeping up with the technology? What do you think is stopping procurement from being attractive?

1 comment:

  1. Sir,
    I think we should fix the top management first whom to me is the issue not the job itself, my 25 years’ experience in 10+ procurement potions is magic in terms of fulfillment.
    I agree with you “We are in the spotlight “only when the top management gets in trouble with market cost, supply pressure or competition gets severe.
    Then every executive rush running to the supply team asking for relief. One last thing; consider as indication how high or low procurement in any Org spending on S&M vs. Procurement (i.e. Training and Development Investment)
    You will be astonished then.