Discover the impacts of this scenario and how the absence of SAP professionals relates to conversion projects to SAP S/4HANA.
“There is a vacuum in the SAP job market. And this vacuum is generated by a structural flaw in the training of the SAP workforce.” That's what Ulisses Pereira, creator of the #OMundoSAP project, says.
Ulisses talks about the impacts of lack of skilled labor in the SAP market and how each part of the ecosystem can be impacted by this issue, illustrating possible solutions. See the interview published on baguette.com below:
“Since I intensified the actions in the SAP career project #OMundoSAP, I have been talking a lot with the SAP ecosystem made up of SAP professionals (users and consultants), customers and partners, and with people from SAP itself. So, I started sharing job openings that I see on my linkedin timeline every day. There is one common feature to almost all vacancies: Senior, Full, Senior, Full, Senior, Full, Full, Senior, Senior, Senior, Senior.
THINK WITH ME: IF PROFESSIONALS LIKE JUNIORS DON'T ENTER, THERE WILL NEVER BE FULL AND SENIORS. Due to this seniority vacuum, any warm-up in the market makes recruiters despair. And the problem is getting even worse because THE MIGRATION TO S/4HANA is knocking on our door. 2025 is there.
Who is to blame for this situation? All! Everyone has their share of blame, let's understand:
SAP PROFESSIONALS 👨💻
1. Those outside the labor market:
First, those who have no idea what SAP is (they don't know if SAP is for food or for hair).
According to those who know a little about the potential of the SAP job market.
Does not accumulate unnecessary material in stock.
You don't have no idea about SAP.
The vast majority of professionals have no idea what SAP is. Therefore, they completely ignore what the SAP job market is and what the real employability potential exists in having a SAP in the curriculum. Those who work with SAP live in a parallel world that is extremely difficult for others to access. Practically an impenetrable bubble. Non-SAP Groups: Accounting, Tax, Administration, Production Engineering, Purchasing, Sales, Logistics, Supplies, Tax, etc. Anyway, any group that is connected to a business area covered by SAP. SAP groups: They are existentially SAP vacancy groups.
There are several existing groups, in these groups there are professionals who have already entered the market and many people who attended the SAP academy and were unable to find an allocation. This group hopes that a SAP vacancy will appear for those who have an academy and do not have experience. In the “Non-SAP” groups, the vast majority have no idea what SAP is.
They know the potential of the SAP market.
This is the group that is more “dangerous”, I say dangerous, as it is the one that is making the most mistakes during the journey, since the first group has not even started the journey. Ignoring the existence of SAP still cannot be considered a mistake, or can it?
The two main mistakes are: trying to skip steps and thinking in the short term.
I see people skipping steps and wanting to quickly enter the SAP career, they invest money in a gym. I know the story of a person from Niterói who told me that he spent 15k in a SAP academy, but he had no university education. We know that training is not being required in startups, but in the traditional market it is still a recruiter checklist item. There is no graduation, do not enter! Leonardo Ternes Santos, CEO of LTSConsulting, told me another story very similar to our colleague from Niterói. The professional spent 21k on a BASIS gym without having basic knowledge of databases and operating systems. And of course he didn't get an allocation.
They are already in the SAP market
Those who are already in the market also make mistakes and the main thing is to think that working with SAP is the same as a public career and they think you have stability. You sell knowledge and the market wants to buy good professionals.
Today, the market is looking for more complete professionals, aligned with SAP's new strategies and technologies. Those who stick only to “beans and rice” will affect their employability and will feel it in their pockets.
2. SAP PARTNERS 💻
Here we can list the service partner and the education partner.
There are few exclusive license and subscription partners, but they do not matter in the analysis, as selling license and subscription does not require consulting labor.
3. SERVICE PARTNER ⚙️
In my opinion it is what everyone should do. Train professionals and encourage your employees to focus on their self-development, always! I was lucky to have worked in companies that cared about employee training.
Larger consultancies usually have training programs, but there are few that are able to maintain recurrent training cycles for new SAP professionals. Usually they start in despair because there is a lack of professionals in the market. The SAP partner company with trainer characteristics knows that a professional is unlikely to give any return with less than 6 months of employment. And this is a cost for the company that is often cut in the first drop in project sales. After all, labor cannot be stored. The consultant is there occupying a cubicle, earning a salary whether he has a project or not.
I won't say that it's easy to maintain this training flow, an S&OP process for service is quite complex. It's not easy, but it's necessary.
The consumer partner is one of the main culprits for polluting the SAP market. In other words, it consumes the labor market looking for consultants with lower rates. Consequently with lower qualifications. There are few consumer consultancies that maintain a body of quality consultants.
And those that have a body of quality consultants for how long will they be able to maintain this same work model? How long will the market provide enough full and senior consultants for them to be able to maintain quality and their premium price? Quality is expensive! And quality over quantity even more. Ignoring the time and flow of consultant training limits the growth of any SAP company.
EDUCATION PARTNER 📚
Courses, courses, courses, courses courses, selling courses is what I see. The professional education market is big and pays a lot of money. See SAP itself with its SAP Learning HUB. I did not find an education partner in my searches that is concerned with the SAP professional career. This goes for both official and unofficial partners. “Pushing” training and selling the newest course on the shelf is just what matters.
SAP CUSTOMERS 🤝
Medium and Small.
These are hostages of the current situation.
It is expensive to maintain a dedicated SAP professional for a low workload. Even so, specializing your team of key-users is important and can make your SAP consulting account cheaper. Of course, take good care of your key-user, because if you don't, you'll lose it for an easy, easy consultation.
Not specializing and staying with him is much worse for me. A great key-user with some consultant knowledge is very useful for any client.
It has large SAP clients that have more consultants than many consultancies, but I confess that in 11 years I have not met one that has an explicit program for training consultants. Of course, many users and key-users have migrated to IT and are now SAP consultants. The famous “saint of the house” and they do miracles! I've met great consultants who were “created” by clients. What I didn't see was some structured process for this. It is even often a practice not encouraged by the business area, as they will “lose” a hands-on professional to IT.
I did the opposite, I went from IT to the business area, and trying to stop the growth of a professional within the company is one of the biggest factors of professional demotivation. If there is room to grow let them grow and appear. If it cannot grow inwards, it will grow outwards, to the market. Now, the example of HT Solutions from the Herval group (SAP client) came to mind. Grupo Herval has specialized so much that it has its own consultancy that works with SAP and non-SAP. This model is the exception and not the rule. And I also don't know how easy it is to make the transition between the companies in the Herval group.
4. SAP OWN 💡
In Brazil, SAP is still unknown to the crowds, whether it was a strategy to form a more VIP group or not, but the reality below the equator is very different than in Germany. I remember that it was at the 2017 PKOM (SAP PARTNER KICK OFF MEETING) that SAP presented its brand kit to the masses. Soon after, we began to see the SAP brand at airports, in magazines with wide circulation, on TV (SAP advertisements appeared on Globo News).
SAP has risen to 16th place as the most valuable brand on the planet. How much will being the 16th most valuable brand in the world bring more professionals to the SAP market and to the SAP career? If SAP is not seen as an option for this public, the problem of lack of full and senior professionals in the market will continue. If juniors do not enter, we will not have full and seniors.
INCENTIVE PROGRAMS FOR SAP PROFESSIONALS 👨💼
SAP has programs to encourage the training of professionals, especially for those who are already in the career. The amount of information and content that SAP and the SAP community generates is absurd. For those who are already in the SAP career, they can take advantage of the volume of content.
The training initiatives are mainly from the partners. I myself participated in the SAP Sales Academy, and right now I'm having another training session to prospect new customers. The sales area is very busy at SAP, because without selling, a company cannot maintain itself.
As for the consulting area, training is outsourced to partner companies. To guarantee quality, the partner company needs to be authorized to sell and implement a product. Partners can only obtain this authorization if they have a minimum number of professionals with the technical capacity to implement, pre-sell and sell the solution. Without this, without authorization from SAP. Seals of excellence such as SAP Recognized expertise also require a minimum of certified consultants from the partner. Anyway, to comply with SAP requirements, you have to follow its booklet.”
And now, knowing this information, we only ask one question: The market has a serious lack of manpower, what can happen to customers who need to migrate to S/4HANA at the last minute?
Lack of labor = Higher prices.
Discover a new option to migrate: