Six Sigma and Lean Talent Demand: finally reaching parity
Source: BI-ME , Author: Moussa Ahmad
Posted: Sat December 1, 2007 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. The relationship between Six Sigma and Lean is starting to show signs of becoming a more balanced partnership. According to an annual study by The Avery Point Group a leading US executive search firm, there are increasing signs that these two corporate initiatives are finally achieving parity.

"As an executive search firm, we have a unique vantage point from which to observe the latest trends taking place in industry," says Tim Noble, Managing Principal of The Avery Point Group. "Trends in industry are often telegraphed into candidate requirements in job postings, and they can serve as a window into the latest corporate initiatives. Our annual study continues to offer useful insight into the latest trends taking place in the area of corporate continuous improvement."

Based on its third annual sampling of Internet job postings, The Avery Point Group found that Six Sigma no longer outpaces Lean by a wide margin when it comes to desired skill sets, as was found in its two previous annual studies. Demand for Lean talent has grown in the past year to almost equal that of Six Sigma. The growth in interest in Lean talent has not, however, come at the expense of Six Sigma; rather the study shows an overall increased demand for continuous improvement talent utilizing these skill sets.

The study also found, for those companies seeking Six Sigma talent, 38% are looking for practitioners who have Lean expertise as part of their tool set as well. For companies seeking Lean talent the desire is only slightly greater for candidates to exhibit Six Sigma knowledge also, with 42% of all Lean jobs posted requiring Six Sigma exposure. As further validation for the value of these skill sets, the study found demand for Six Sigma and Lean talent from almost every function and industry segment.

"When it comes to desired skill sets companies want to have their cake and eat it, too," said Noble. "Even though companies may not have a full-blown Six Sigma or Lean deployment underway, our study shows each year they increasingly desire candidates that possess Six Sigma, Lean or both skill sets in their DNA."

The Avery Point Group study also found that demand for Six Sigma talent has become increasingly "operationalised" with less than one-fifth of Six Sigma postings seeking to specifically fill Master Black Belt and Black Belt roles. "Companies are increasingly opting instead to inject candidates who posses Six Sigma and Lean skill sets into regular line roles versus creating standalone structured continuous improvement roles, as often was the case with Six Sigma positions in the past," said Noble. "Lean, for the most part, has always been an operationalized-based approach, and for Six Sigma this trend is a natural progression for a widely deployed maturing corporate initiative."

Noble concluded: "The continued strong demand for Six Sigma and Lean talent, as shown in our study, is evidence that companies are increasingly seeking to leverage these key continuous improvement methodologies as an integral part of their operations in an effort to remain competitive in today's global economy."

For more information about The Avery Point Group visit



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