7.16.2008

Lean Jobs: You Need Real Experience, and Six Sigma Helps, Too

Will your lean skills help you get a job? Yes – if you also know Six Sigma, and if you’ve got solid experience putting those skills to work, according to a study by an executive recruiting firm.

In its 4th annual study of Internet job postings, The
Avery Point Group found that,
for the first time, “demand for Lean talent has grown to eclipse and slightly exceed that of Six Sigma,” the company said in a statement.

“This is certainly a major center of gravity shift from our first study in 2005 where Six Sigma talent demand outpaced Lean by more than 50 percent,” says Tim Noble, managing principal of The Avery Point Group.

However, the company said in a statement the increased interest in lean “has not come at the expense of Six Sigma; rather, this year’s study continues to confirm an overall increasing demand for continuous improvement talent, with Lean driving most of the recent talent demand growth.”

In addition, the statement said, “for those companies seeking Six Sigma or Lean talent, fully 50 percent are looking for practitioners to have both skill sets. Further, the study indicated that job postings are making increasing demands on candidates, requiring them to possess a much deeper knowledge and experience skill set with regard to their Lean backgrounds versus prior years.”

"No longer is it acceptable for candidates to claim to have a Lean Sigma or Lean Six Sigma background," says Noble. "Companies want to see candidates that have the hardcore Lean experience gained in a true Lean transformation setting, and that can’t be gained from an environment where Lean is an afterthought or a lesser appendage to an existing Six Sigma program.”

I’m not surprised by that last part, about candidates being able to prove what they have done. However, it was a pleasant surprise to hear how much interest in lean has increased. I don’t know whether that is uniformly true across all industries, but it is encouraging news.

If you are or have recently been a job-seeker, does your own experience bear this out? And if you are an employer, what do you look for?

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