In Q4 of 2011 our Quarterly Market Update was the most positive it had been for a couple of years with clear evidence that the job market was showing signs of improvement.

Since then we have constantly been able to report a gradual improvement in the market for both interim and permanent procurement opportunities, and the start of this year has shown clear signs that there is a genuine battle for the best available talent in the market place.

We’ve seen candidates having to choose between multiple offers, clients increasing budgets to attract the skills and experience they need when previously this would have been out of the question, and the return of counter offers at resignation stage.

These are all classic characteristics of a strong job market, so we firmly believe this demonstrates very healthy market conditions. That is great news for all of us except those struggling to attract the best available talent they need for their business.  (If this is you we suggest you call Andrew Daley on 0161 776 4603 to discuss how we can help)

From a job seeker’s perspective, the positive market conditions that we have been reporting for the last 18 months have continued in Q1 of this year despite some gloomy economic news, so we now have a healthy job market for both interim and permanent for procurement professionals.

Here are some further observations on the current market conditions:

There is generally a lot less caution on salaries although budgets remain very tight in certain organisations.  Where companies have the budget to attract the best available candidates this is a real advantage in the “battle for talent” which is most definitely on in key areas of indirect spend like IT and HR.

Hannah Jackson who particularly specialises in FMCG has also highlighted areas of direct spend such as ingredients and packaging where there is growing demand for strong candidates, particularly for permanent appointments.  Hannah has also noticed a shortage of available interim candidates with indirect spend experience in the FMCG market. If you have these skills please contact Hannah directly.

We noted these market conditions late last year in this article Where is the demand for procurement talent?

Contractor day rates continue to creep up and there are less interim specialists available than there were as recently as 6 months ago.  Category demand is greatest in the classic areas of indirect spend like IT, Marketing, HR and Facilities.

Restrictions around additional headcount being approved for new hires are much less commonplace than they were 12 months ago. We have yet to experience this issue this year but there have been examples of this in the last 18 months.

Furthermore, as mentioned above there have been several examples recently of additional budget being signed off to ensure companies are able to make key appointments, even if it means bending salary bands.

There is clear growth in the Consulting market demonstrated by increased demand for experienced talent evident, not only across the big players, but also amongst the growing number of niche Procurement & Supply Chain specialists that appear to be gaining market share.

There is also significant demand for those who can combine business development expertise with project and/or business leadership skills.  We are particularly interested in speaking to anyone with this background who is considering entering the job market.

Through our excellent network in the consulting market we have been able to work on some impressive transformation projects recently.  Sourcing candidates with the skills required to enhance a procurement function going through a period of change has become something of a speciality for us as outlined in this case study.   Please contact Chris McGowan if you have strong skills in category management, procurement transformation or stakeholder engagement as we have constant demand for this experience.

This work provides further evidence that many businesses are still really discovering the importance of a high quality procurement capability. This has particularly been the case when procurement departments have proved their value during the troubled economic climate of recent years.

Many of these companies are now expanding their departments which is adding to the demand for staff.  Interestingly we covered this in some research during the recession, the results of which are here – The impact of the current economic condition on procurement and it’s pleasing to note that the trend continues.

To discuss any of the issues raised here please contact us as follows:

Andrew Daley, Director – to discuss identifying the talent you need for your team, opportunities in procurement and supply chain consulting or senior management appointments.

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Hannah Jackson, Principal Consultant – Hannah specialises in the FMCG, Travel & Leisure sectors, so please contact her if you have specific industry experience in these areas.

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Christopher McGowan, Senior Consultant – Chris specialises in all areas of indirect spend, Consulting and contract roles.

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Raluca Pirvu, Senior Resourcing Consultant – Raluca manages our candidate database so please send her your CV if you are looking for a new role whether it be interim or permanent.

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