"Talent cannot be copied; it can only be acquired and nurtured, through effective recruitment and employee development and engagement." - Sigi Osagie, author: Procurement Mojo — Strengthening the Function and Raising Its Profile
As the year 2015 draws to a close it becomes paramount to reflect on the year that was and the key themes that impacted the year. For this purpose we had a sit down with Kabelo Modiba, a Business development Manager at Tech-Pro in Sunninghill and asked him for his insights and analysis of the key trends that dominated 2015 in supply chain recruitment.
The interview will be published in a two part blog series which consists of the following underlying themes; skills gaps, specialisation, higher salaries and the quest for top talent. Here is a detailed look into the first part of Kabelo's interview:
1. What does your job entail?
There are three aspects to my job (1) managing client relationships, (2) finding solutions to our current clients' needs, and (3) finding new clients.
On any given day, I will find myself visiting a client or two for a coffee, chat or to drop off a gift. Alternatively, you can find me phoning clients and attending to their various requests/needs.
2. Which industry trends have you identified in supply chain/ supply chain recruitment in the past year?
The biggest trend this year has been 'specialisation
Specialisation has been key this year – there is more definition of roles within industries. We have seen a significant transition of roles within supply chain management, from generalist to specialist. More and more professionals are moving towards specialising further in a chosen industry/role.
For instance, in the past there would be a Warehouse Manager who would generally manage any type of warehouse. However, today you will find procurement professionals who strictly specialise in contract management, certain commodities, or IT software/hardware and telecoms. We are also finding that we are unable to place those professionals in certain roles or industries, such as industries that deal with heavy duty machinery, e.g. the mining industry.
The rise of the black female
There has been an increase in the number of black females within the supply chain management field. Similarly, with the recent changes in BBBEE codes, this trend was to be expected. In our experience these professionals are in high demand and excellent at their jobs.
An upward trend in salaries
Salaries are getting higher for the right talent. Employers do not mind paying higher salaries for SCM professionals with specific scarce skills and expertise. We have noticed a number of professionals who have managed to achieve significantly higher salaries within a short space of 2 to 3 years.
For more details on 2015 salaries in Supply Chain, Planning, Consulting, Procurement, and Logistics, consult the Tech-Pro Salary Survey 2015.
3. What have been your highlights in supply chain recruitment for the year?
More people in supply chain management are realising the value of having the right person in the right job and thereby the value of using the right supply chain recruitment agency to recruit the right talent.
4. Which positions in your areas of specialisation have been key this year?
Procurement roles have been key this year – there has been a significant demand for roles such as Procurement Specialists, Sourcing Specialists, and Commodity Specialists.
This trend is largely due to the rapid evolution taking place in the procurement space. This has led to a select number procurement professionals who were earning high salaries last year becoming unemployed this year due to their role becoming redundant. In this case employers are having to employ professionals with different skills to perform the same job function.
This trend highlights a need for any supply chain management professional to constantly better themselves, whether it is through formally studying further and acquiring new skills and qualifications or through short courses. Supply chain management professionals need to constantly be developing themselves.
It is also important to note that the skills gap is still evident; therefore, any adequately skilled SCM professional should be able to find employment because there's a definite need for talent. There's a demand for professionals with unique expertise such as the ability to deliver high savings for your company, the ability to improve business processes and the ability to create innovations that increase efficiency.
Although APICS accreditation is not mandatory for most employers, we are starting to see a few cases where clients require accredited supply chain management professionals.
We foresee accreditation becoming a large part of recruitment in the next 2 to 5 years because accreditation equips a SCM professional with certain specialist skills that employers are starting to need on a day-to-day basis. This will give accredited professionals a significant upper hand.
Visit the SAPICS website for more information about APICS certifications or SAPICS membership.
5. On average, what would you say have been clients' top 5 needs?
Talent continues to be a critical success factor for clients across various areas in Supply chain management. The need for the right talent has been a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Employers are constantly in need of the right talent at the right time.
Speedy recruitment processes
Employers want to fill their vacancies faster and their in-house recruitment processes are unable to meet this need. In-house recruitment processes can take between 3 to 6 months to fill roles and clients need to shorten this process.
Supply chain recruitment is important to the profitability and sustainable success of businesses – employers are prioritising recruitment and looking at specialist recruitment agencies.
Employers need to retain their top talent. In contrast to many years ago when talent would work for one employer for over 5 years, there's a growing trend whereby talent is spending less time with an employer, this is due in part to the skills shortage within supply chain management.
When it comes to retention, there's truth in the saying "people do not leave organisations, they leave bad bosses". Once again, as a result of the skills gap, we are finding more cases of professionals with excellent performance management being promoted to managerial positions within short periods of time. In most cases, this occurs before these individuals are able to develop the necessary soft skills needed to effectively manage a team. One such skill is people management, which is a vital requirement for employee retention, especially for young managers.
Also, the fluid nature of SCM enables scenarios where employees' roles evolve, and at times forcing the employee to partake in activities that do not interest or challenge them. Eventually some of these employees feel undervalued and seek opportunities elsewhere.
Are you a supply chain professional who has a track record for helping companies create a sustainable competitive advantage? We have various opportunities available in Supply Chain, Planning, Consulting, Procurement, and Logistics. Check out our jobs search page to apply.
For employers looking for exceptional candidates, we have various candidates available in Supply Chain, Planning, Consulting, Procurement, and Logistics. Check out our candidate search page and contact us on +27 11 514 0463.