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How Procurement can help in Boom Time Employment June 15, 2019

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, magazine, or for the savvy ones, an online news feed article, that isn’t talking about some aspect of the current labor market. If they’re not spouting off the historic unemployment lows or the extraordinary numbers of openings to potential workers or how wages aren’t keeping up as they should or how all the labor on the sidelines has finally jumped or finally, how we are doomed as more and more Boomers are exiting, it’s a small wonder there isn’t more panic when it comes to all things talent.

The question now is around Supply Management coping with this persistent challenge and how it will help the organization when it comes to overcoming the operational and financial risks tied with the human capital part of the equation. Procurement can take the lead with facts and figures and educate their stakeholders as to what’s transpiring on the outside. They can also be role models for other functions by continuing to invest in their team members through training and providing concrete career paths and being that talent pipeline for the broader organization. Best in class Procurement groups are lauded within progressive companies in their ability to attract people from within the organization and then losing that top talent to other parts of their company. Understanding that the realities in the current employment market are such that the stigma in frequent job hopping has lessened considerably, opportunities should be provided for talent to take on more scope and responsibilities. If not, companies run the risk of losing their top people. According to US federal data, the rate of workers voluntarily moving on from their jobs hit a 17 year high in 2018. This trend underscores the level of confidence workers have in finding better opportunities in this red-hot economy along with the conventional wisdom that the most substantial compensation gains come to those who switch jobs. Career advice abounds currently on how employees can afford to be bolder when it comes to demanding more responsibilities, companies, team members, perks, etc. No wonder more and more companies have also been forced to lower requirements and qualifications when it comes to background and experience just to try and fill the over seven million openings across the country when officially there only about 6 million unemployed.

According to US federal data,
the rate of workers voluntarily
moving on from their jobs
hit a 17 year high in 2018. ” 

US Federal Data (2018)

Now coming to the data in terms of how Procurement can help their respective companies mitigate these challenges. Firstly, they need to treat this talent issue as a supply chain challenge. They can no longer merely outsource this to their HR team and expect to have their problems solved without active engagement. Part of this requires vetting and working with the critical suppliers that will help them in the talent acquisition process. Whether it’s contingent labor or permanent hires, Procurement needs to lend its expertise in selecting and holding these awarded vendors to mutually agreed upon metrics, i.e., time to fill, cost to fill, replacement guarantee, etc. However, the next step is where they need to work with their HR partners in understanding if the hiring process is producing good employees. According to the research firm Gartner Inc., just under 25% of large employers currently track the effectiveness of their talent acquisition departments. Conversely, HR needs to continually stress that time is of the essence in this market. When stakeholders claim they are hurting for lack of resources and then take weeks to interview and hire candidates, they run the risk of losing good talent since they won’t be as patient with so many suitors in hit pursuit.

Procurement can also help educate stakeholders on the new reality facing companies when it comes to acquiring talent. Not only is it a full employment market out there with a 100 straight months of job growth, but also that the last time we experienced something like this was 50 years ago. Thus, this truly is once in a lifetime scenario when it comes to the current conditions. From an external perspective, Procurement needs to be mindful of how its affecting suppliers and their operations. We have personally seen manufacturing clients grappling with lack of resources, causing plant shutdowns. Be it losing workers to the growing opioid crisis to overseas suppliers experiencing a slowdown due to trade and tariff implications. These are all factors that are at the forefront as organizations try to keep pace with their competition and the continued upward trajectory of the economy.


Written by: NASEEM MALIK, Managing Partner

Naseem brings over 15 years of experience in the supply management and logistics function to the search and recruitment business. Spanning diverse industries, he has worked in numerous roles of increasing responsibility, including implementation of global supply strategies, product and process cost reductions, and supply chain improvements.

He was also Director of Global Sourcing at both Terex Corporation and ACCO Brands. His background includes working in management consulting for AT Kearney, as well as multiple start-up businesses. While working at major Fortune 500 companies, Naseem gained valuable insights on how to attract and retain top-notch talent. He is well versed in building and leading high-performing teams on a global basis.

Naseem can be reached at naseem.malik@tyges.com | 847-278-2118


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