Tight Personnel Situation: Good Buyers Are Scarce

Austrian Companies Find No Buyers

About two-thirds of Austrian companies need more than eight months to fill the vacant positions of their purchasing managers. One fifth of them needs four to six months. That's the result of a study in which 175 companies were interviewed and which had been conducted by the personnel consultancy Penning Consulting, by Kerkhoff Consulting and by the Forum Einkauf (Purchasing Forum) of the Österreichische Produktivitäts- und Wirtschaftlichkeits-Zentrum (ÖPWZ – Austrian Center for Productivity and Profitability). Not even 20 percent of the interviewed companies have an internal successor at the ready for strategic positions in purchasing. But 31 percent are also of the opinion that external applicants frequently do not meet professional requirements.

"Austrian companies reveal striking gaps in the recruitment of new purchasing staff. Although it takes very long to fill a vacancy and applicants frequently do not have suitable qualifications, companies do not develop any successors internally. In an unfavorable situation, an entire department can thus be crippled for months“, states Stephan Penning, Managing Partner of Penning Consulting in a mailing. The recruitment of a strategic buyer would also take longer than eight months in 56 percent of the companies.

Even where trade buyers (56 percent) and clerks (57 percent) are concerned, the majority of companies is unable – according to their own information – to fill such vacant positions within eight months. A quarter of the interviewed companies is successful, at least, in hiring clerks within two months.

Little investment in training
"The figures collected clearly show that far too little has been invested in the training of buyers in recent years“, thus Gundula Jäger, Managing Director of Kerkhoff Consulting Austria. There were hardly any universities in Europe which provide special training for purchasing and supply chain specialists. At the same time, that's exactly the type of people required for ever more complex international supply chains. And that would now result in a tight personnel situation.

"Good buyers frequently know other good buyers", says Gundula Jäger. Accordingly, this possibility of finding or obtaining personnel would be used by far too few companies to quickly fill vacancies.“ Also, less than half of the interviewed Austrian companies use external advice – such as consulting by personnel consultancies (49 percent).