Procurement talent

The pandemic has significantly impacted most industries and countries. One of the significant consequences has been the lack of procurement talent or labor availability to markets and industries.

This is not news to anyone working in the procurement industry. According to the EY 2022 Global CPO Survey, procurement departments have struggled to contain “higher-than-normal” attrition and the movement of staff exiting the function.

The rippling effects of COVID and the aftermath of geopolitical shocks have been described in the survey as a perfect “procurement storm”  – resulting in a global battle to attract and retain talent. But, how will it be possible for procurement to operate if the function cannot recruit or retain staff, given that hiring staff is low on the organizational priority agenda?

To better understand how procurement organizations respond to the uncertainty of the post-pandemic world, EY surveyed nearly 100 Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs). As a result, the survey uncovered valuable insights into the most significant priorities and challenges in procurement today.

EY’s 2022 Global CPO Survey received responses from around the world and sampled data from industries, including retail, energy, public sector, consumer products, telco media, health care, and transport, with an average of US$1b—US$2.5b in spend.

Key findings: talent & capability

44% of respondents experienced challenges finding the right procurement talent in the market. During hiring, respondents highlighted traditional procurement skill sets as the preferred capabilities.

  • Nearly 39% prioritize core procurement capabilities
  • Almost 27% prioritize stakeholder management skills
  • Precisely 16% prioritize supply market understanding

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • Procurement creates value from what it delivers to the organization — if it does not, the function has no reason to exist
  • Procurement talent is in high demand, with an overheated market seeking out the hiring of procurement professionals
  • Key procurement skills are centered on “heavy business” partnering with internal functions, balancing an understanding of the end-to-end supply chain, and core procurement cost reduction skills
  • It has never been more critical for procurement professionals to be agile, flexible, and resilient to balance market uncertainty
  • Digitization of procurement capabilities remains under-invested, resulting from the continued lack of recognition that “adoption” needs to play within procurement functions


EY’s 2022 Global CPO Survey concludes that procurement organizations and their CPOs must fight harder to attract talent. Investing in and nurturing their talent pool will benefit the entire organization if approached correctly and will also provide strategic insight on how to retain their existing teams. Moreover, organizations must invest in developing their team’s skill sets for the procurement department to remain a strategic function. As such, this can only be accomplished by future-proofing capabilities and not disregarding this essential factor of production.

Attracting talent to procurement must be wholly aligned with the organization’s enterprise and business strategies; they must be transparent and authentic. A talent’s successful recruitment and onboarding must be guided by skilled procurement professionals who know that superior talent can be crafted only by mastering the complexities and tensions of a post- covid landscape.

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