Enabling the SAP talent pool

 

We’re already short of SAP talent, we all know that now.

There are less skilled people coming into Australia, far more client PO#s poised to go out here, with the next wave of HANA migrations, cloud shifts and all the other moves along the digital transformation dancefloor starting to twitch. Not to mention those leaving the industry for other technologies (going over to the dark side…), or to pursue management, start-up or other general lifestyle changes.

Where is the SAP talent going to come from these next few years, once this shallow well of poaching / acquisitions / offshoring has run dry?

Every SAP hiring business felt the pinch last year, once border closures, immigration pauses and candidate uncertainty turned the talent pool into a talent puddle. So it will be no surprise that The National Skills Commission reported this existing skills shortage across the ICT Business and Systems Analysts category (where SAP consulting talent sits), formally declaring this entire overall vocation as an “Occupation in Shortage.”

But then worse: they also reported a whopping 27.7% additional increase in future demand, even just over the short years from 2000 to 2025. We’re already tight to deliver existing ICT requirements, but now also have to prepare for an increase in demand across the sector. In fact:

SAP predicts we’re so short globally, against such positive growth in market share, that there’s 600,000 new employees needed in the SAP ecosystem, of which 280,000 are net-new roles (!).

That makes it pretty real, right?

However, despite the scary stats of shortages and demand: there is opportunity in this….

Because, at the same time, the National Skills Commission also identified surplus supply &/or decreasing demand across a whole range of other professions from HR, sales, insurance agents, office workers, process workers, customer service officers, training, legal, finance, even some engineering and telecommunications sectors.

Filling the SAP talent pool could mean looking beyond each other’s project teams, and into the broader workforce economy we’re trying to improve.

Those professions with surplus supply &/or decreasing demand are packed full of transferrable skills in business, industry, process, operations, analysis, communication (and, being heavily from blue chip industries: these people possibly even speak some SAP already…).

These are the already business-experienced, industry savvy, energised SAP Super Users, end-users, sector-specific workers and frontline market folk actively trying to get a foot into the SAP-door.

Insisting on only hiring experts with 400 years experience is what led to the unrealistic talent expectations that helped cause the talent shortage in the first place.

Sure, it’s going to take a re-think about what skills are actually required, acknowledging what skills are even actually out there, then being far smarter about bridging the gap between corporate dreams and talent realities. The alternative is the boring war-for-talent that surely we’ve done enough of by now.

Beyond the usual poaching and acquisition, there is this real opportunity to reimagine and enrich how we can grow our industry’s talent channels, by engaging frontline business process expertise, transferrable skills and embracing that infinite human capability to learn, adapt and innovate.

It’s self-defeating for business to worry about a skills shortage, when they’re not opening the door to people actively knocking to get in.

Could we enrich our thirsty SAP talent pool with fresh skills, perspectives and potentials; enabling our rising industry through harnessing and developing the transferrable skills from declining ones?

Can we boost local SAP delivery capability with sustainable local talent?

Every business planning a SAP project certainly hopes so.

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Insights from this article:

  • The ICT Business and Systems Analyst vocation has decreasing talent supply, increasing talent demand, locally & globally
  • There are transferrable skills in professions with declining demand, including HR, finance, operations, process workers and technical
  • Business could leverage that frontline industry and business process knowledge
  • Rethinking actual requirements while acknowledging actual skills, then training to bridge those gaps could help solve the talent shortage issues

References

Labour Market Information Portal

https://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/GainInsights/EmploymentProjections

National Skills Commission

https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/ict-professionals

SAP – IDC Insight Report

Partner Opportunity in a Changing World

https://events.sap.com/whats-next/en/home
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