- A recent survey of more than 500 procurement professionals conducted by Procurious revealed 40% of respondents expect to leave their current jobs within two years, and 70% will leave within five years.
- The news may come as a shock to an industry already strained by a talent shortage, but the survey notes those attributes are to be expected in "Gen NEXT" — the industry's future leaders. The new talent is defined by career proactivity, ambition, a willingness to network and an eagerness to crowdsource ideas.
- The survey also found more than half of respondents also said they don't trust their bosses to help advance their careers, two-thirds place a higher value on their online profile than their CVs, and most still consider mentors the most trusted source for advice.
The findings from the Procurious Gen Next survey were interesting, data-driven, far-reaching and sadly not unexpected.
Sifting through the data two important elements were clear. First, don’t depend on your boss for career advancement and second, take control of your own career through building a professional network. Bottom line? You need to be your own career champion. No surprise there.
The survey addressed some fundamental career advice, albeit with a digital edge. Crowdsourcing and digital networks are fine, but they are only a piece of the puzzle for career development. Much like one cannot expect their boss to take responsibility for their career, they cannot expect to be assigned a mentor. Find one on your own! Turmoil in the workplace, sadly cross-functional these days, has allowed for an "every person for themselves" mentality. Why should your boss be worried about your career when she is worried about hers? And her boss? Much of the same.
Let’s focus on networking as one solution to career development. I was involved in two networking opportunities recently with somewhat opposite results.
I host a "town and gown" networking breakfast each fall and spring with at least 50 attendees, often more. My guests are mid-level and higher level professionals representing area for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The audience makeup changes, based on the speaker or competing events. But no matter who attends, networking is so strong we stopped printing badges, as no one needed them. Guests renew relationships that may have gone dormant or make new ones. It is fun to watch the interplay and business card exchange and everyone makes an attempt to meet the speaker. I know for a fact that successful relationships are forged at each event. These are willing networkers.
I was recently honored to speak at a dinner meeting of the regional unit of a national supply chain related organization. These are usually good networking opportunities for me. Sadly, I was essentially invisible and had more interaction with the hotel staff than my hosts. While certainly not bad people, they had very little networking experience and didn’t want to add more. Two people who I casually knew sat with me during dinner, while the other 8 person tables were jammed. And while it was good to see a couple of early career people, they were far too consumed with their conversations to be interested in meeting the speaker or other members. Listening to me was perfunctory … the drink tickets and the steak was the draw. And leadership wondered why attendance was dwindling. It was a long ride home.
No matter the career, take ownership. Use all of the tools at your disposal, including the electronic ones. While it seems that bits and bytes will win the day, many are surprised at the power looking someone in the eye and shaking hands. Call me old school, but as a hiring manager I may find a candidate electronically, but I will still sit across from them and have a conversation. It’s called a personal interview.
My advice? Don’t get lost in the crowd. Reach out!