Gartner: Procurement must improve talent to meet its needs

Insights released by consulting firm - Gartner - reveal that only 14% of procurement leaders have adequate talent to meet future business needs

Surveying 113 procurement leaders in the summer of 2023 has seen a divide of opinion when it comes to the current and future talent needs in the procurement function. While 46% are confident in the ability of the current talent and the business needs, only 14% agree that they have adequate talent to meet future needs.

“Procurement leaders are generally confident in the current state of their talent and the ability to meet their near-term objectives,” said Fareen Mehrzai, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner’s Supply Chain Practice. 

“However, our data shows that chief procurement officers (CPOs) are worried about the future and having sufficient talent to meet transformative goals based around technology, as well as the ability to serve as a strategic advisor to the business.”

The finding comes as a result of the increase in technology and data competencies and its importance when compared to more traditional procurement skills.

What is driving the lack of confidence?

According to Gartner the lack of confidence in future talent readiness is driven by the shift in key competencies CPOs need to help drive objectives associated with procurement transformation. 

Key findings:

  • 69% said business acumen had gained importance in the last 12 months
  • 68% said technology and data skills had increased in importance
  • Only 26% said traditional procurement competencies had gained importance

“Procurement leaders are aware that the competencies required to drive transformation are different from traditional procurement skills, and that there are significant gaps between their current and future needs for the most important competencies. 96% of respondents reported at least a small gap in their needs for technology and data skills, while 86% reported the same when it came to business acumen,” said Mehrzai. 

More work needs to be done

The survey also indicated that more work needs to be done when it comes to refining competency planning strategies to meet the future talent needs of the procurement function.

Key findings:

  • 65% reported that their organisations have dedicated strategies to target the most critical competencies
  • Only 31% believe their current competency models are relevant to their staff’s work

“In evaluating current competency levels, we see procurement leaders relying most on peer and stakeholder feedback, while less than half report engaging in competency-driven interviews to directly evaluate their staff’s skills. Considering the significant gaps in the most critical future competencies, CPOs need to consider expanding their options in how they train and evaluate their staff,” concluded Mehrzai. 


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