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A challenge for skills

May 18, 2015

When they respond to IACCM’s talent surveys, 80% of contract and procurement professionals say they are confident that they understand the skills needed for the future. They also believe that they either have or can acquire those skills.

Are they right?

In a series of member meetings in Australia, the subject of skills has arisen on numerous occasions. There are several organizations – such as the Brooke Institute – that have undertaken significant studies in this area. All those studies suggest that skill needs are changing fast – and that the current practitioner community lacks the right profile for the challenges that lie ahead. IACCM benchmarking and skills assessments suggest they are right.

The nature of contracts and trading relationships is changing fast. We are moving to an increasingly complex environment where many projects and contracts are impacted by high levels of uncertainty or ambiguity. A growing number are performance or outcome based.

Complexity changes the sort of competency needed, from following process, ensuring compliance, obeying rules to instead making judgments. This means a need to be aware of the process and the rules and to understand how to work around or within them in ways that do not threaten success. It also demands a set of leadership skills and a readiness to engage with the outside world, to understand market trends and practices.

The problem we face is that the standard skills of following process, obeying rules and ensuring compliance will rapidly be automated. Right now, there is limited evidence that the practitioner community is acquiring the competencies needed for the future. But this is an area on which IACCM is working and will steadily introduce new approaches to training and skills development.


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