Procurement Leaders – The Talent Attraction Reality – Part 2

In our previous article on this subject, my colleague Simon Edbury wrote about the opportunities that exist for procurement functions to help improve their organisation’s approach to Talent Attraction.

I thought it would be valuable to share an example of best practice in recruitment to illustrate the benefits it can bring, benefits which beg the question “why do so many procurement functions continue to apply an old school methodology to how they manage their recruitment spend” because that’s what we still see in our day to day work.

At Edbury Daley we have had a clear message to the market for some time now and in simple terms, it reads like this:

There is a talent shortage in most areas of the procurement technology marketplace so if you want to hire the best people you need to start thinking differently about how you approach your recruitment.

It’s a message that the clients who value our service really understand and it is best demonstrated by the procurement solution providers that we recruit for and their customers who need key skills to reap the rewards of their investment in the technology available.

With greater emphasis being put on the digital procurement skill set, these market conditions are going to get more acute and that’s one key reason why we are committing ourselves to that area. It’s the future of procurement and companies that are serious about hiring those skills will need our sort of expertise if they want to achieve their recruitment objectives.

In our recent Insider report, we talked about the market conditions for these sorts of in-house appointments. Here’s what we had to say:

One area that … may lead to growth in in-house procurement technology roles is Spend Analytics.

We are seeing more evidence of dedicated roles in this area having worked some interesting projects ourselves and heard about others that have been advertised or made through internal appointments.

A typical example would be that of an organisation already using one or more elements of a broad platform, for example, S2C, P2P, contract management etc. and therefore capturing plenty of potentially valuable data but not using it effectively.

By appointing a specialist to review the existing landscape, assess the available data and formulate a strategy to implement an effective Spend Analytics strategy, procurement leaders are starting to realise the value available in the data.

In making these appointments we are considering people from both the procurement profession and from much broader data science backgrounds depending on the preferences of the hiring managers.

However, we are still at the stage where we have more conversations with leaders who are planning in this area than those who are able to instruct us to start the hiring process.

The aforementioned appointment of a Procurement Data Lead for a FTSE 100 pharma company was an excellent example of a client investing in its supplier relationship to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Here’s what they did that ultimately made the difference:

They consulted with us at the very beginning of the process when scoping out the role. This enabled them to:

  1. a) understand the availability of the required skills
  2. b) assess the likely cost in terms of salary
  3. c) set realistic expectations within the business about the choices available to them.

They then worked with us to develop a realistic job specification for the role featuring both essential and desirable skills/experience. I believe our guidance here was very beneficial to the client.

We then helped them develop the go to market strategy for this role which would arm us with the ammunition required to convince both active, and more perhaps importantly passive job seekers, that this was a role offering a great career opportunity and therefore worthy of serious consideration

They gave us exclusivity on the recruitment process which incentivised us to go the extra mile in candidate sourcing, confident in the belief that our time and effort would be rewarded.

So by the time we went to the market we were armed with everything we needed to attract the best relevant talent for our client and they had both a clear brief and a realistic expectation of what they could hire for the desired salary band.

The result was a successful appointment despite the relative scarcity of the desired skill set. We attribute much of the success to the partnering approach the client took with us in the planning stage of the process. It set a tone for the entire recruitment campaign that many would do well to replicate.

If your approach to recruitment would benefit from this type of approach and the use of our expertise in the procurement technology world, it would be interesting to discuss how we can help you. 

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