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Poll Results: Supply Management Professional Longevity

In the May/June E3 Web Poll, we aimed to learn how long supply management practitioners have been in the profession and how long they plan to stay. We also asked for practitioners’ thoughts on their futures. Here are the results.

We asked how long practitioners have been in their current roles. The average response was 2.8 years.

Asked if they came to supply management from another function, 68.4 percent of respondents said yes. Among some of the former functions listed were engineering, administrative, finance, marketing and office administration. One respondent listed selling electronic components as his or her previous job; another said machinist.

Asked if they expect to never leave the supply management profession, 73.7 percent of respondents said yes.

We were curious if employee turnover affected procurement organizations’ continuity, and most practitioners indicated it does not. “People come and go, but continuity is not impacted much,” was selected by 52.6 percent of respondents. “This is not an issue; our organization has personnel stability,” was chosen by 31.6 percent. “Our organization’s turnover negatively impacts continuity,” was selected by 15.8 percent.

Finally, we asked respondents to share comments about their futures in the supply management profession and their career goals. Among them:

  • “Spending your entire 40-year career in one central function sounds like a road map to boredom and complacency. … I spent my first 10 years in engineering and will eventually want a new challenge after spending 10 years in supply management. I support job rotations, keeping top talent motivated within the company with new and exciting responsibilities, and new cross-functional challenges.”
  • “Pigeonholed in supply management.”
  • “I've been blessed to have worked in the industries of manufacturing, technology and health services throughout my purchasing career. My future looks bright because I've been able to apply my experiences in whatever industry I'm working in, and this will allow me to adapt to future roles. My goals are to stay relevant so I continue to be employable and work for a long time and be of value in whatever role I'm in. I don't see myself ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ but rather impacting every aspect of the company I'm working for with professionalism, wisdom and — of course — cost savings!”
  • “(In) an ever-emerging profession, a lot depends on how we profile our position beyond a basic paper-pushing 'buyer.' We can do a lot more in and outside of (the) supply chain.”
  • “I've been in the procurement field for 32½ years. … I will retire within the next two years but plan on then becoming more active with the California Association of Public Procurement Officials (CAPPO), mentoring those who are fairly new to the field and helping the organization as best I can. Oh, and I'll get to sleep in when I retire.”

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