(Avery Point Group: Alpharetta, GA) -- Companies flush with strong balance sheets after taking drastic actions during the recession are clearly making aggressive moves to bolster their internal talent pools by seeking both lean and Six Sigma talent, according to the seventh annual study from The Avery Group, which this year comprised reviews of nearly 6,700 recent Internet job postings. This study found that the combined demand for lean and Six Sigma talent has increased by more than 90 percent since last year.
“This year’s dramatic increase for lean and Six Sigma skills may have more to do with ensuring corporate performance and leveraging expected rising demand versus an early signal of overall hiring," says Tim Noble, managing principal and partner of The Avery Point Group. “Companies are seeking lean and Six Sigma talent as a way to help their organizations better leverage their performance during the ongoing recovery. They don’t want to add back one-for-one on head count, inventory, and operating cost as the economy recovers and volume returns. Rather, they see continuous improvement talent as an enabler to help them gain and maintain significant performance leverage.”
For the first time in seven consecutive studies by The Avery Point Group, this year’s study showed little to no year-over-year change on the relative balance between lean and Six Sigma talent demand. This year’s study found that lean talent demand continues to outpace Six Sigma by almost 35 percent, in line with last year’s study. Nonetheless, this is still a dramatic shift from The Avery Point Group’s 2005 inaugural lean and Six Sigma talent demand study that showed Six Sigma talent demand exceeding lean by more than 50 percent.
Almost exactly in line with last year, this year’s study found that for companies seeking lean talent, only 41 percent require candidates to possess Six Sigma knowledge as well, a requirement that has continued to decline in The Avery Point Group’s previous talent demand studies. On the other hand, for companies seeking Six Sigma talent, almost 55 percent are now requiring candidates to possess lean knowledge as well, a requirement that has steadily grown in previous studies.
“These results continue to show an overall bias for lean skills, perhaps as an ongoing hedge against the challenges of today’s economic climate, which lean’s more immediate and practical focus on waste, flow and flexibility may better serve,” says Noble. “It may also indicate that companies are continuing to balance out their continuous improvement talent stable with lean candidates versus slightly more ubiquitous Six Sigma talent.”
Overall, Noble concludes, this sharp rise in talent demand for Six Sigma and lean bodes well for candidates who possess these skills, as organizations seek them out as either a hedge against current economic uncertainty or as an enabler to leverage the emerging economic recovery.