Here are our latest observations on the recruitment market for Procurement and Supply Chain professionals.

Comments On Industry Sectors

The Leisure market is busier than at any stage in the last 2-3 years with several organisations seeking new talent, particularly at Category Manager level.

The Banking & Finance sectors are still quite variable but there is some activity in both interim and permanent markets.

There are encouraging signs in the Pharmaceuticals sector with several major players having made or are in the process of making middle and senior level procurement appointments. Demand for international experience in either Global or EMEA Category Lead roles is common.

Hannah Jackson reports that the FMCG market is solid, with direct spend roles still available but there isn’t as much competition for the best talent as there is in indirect spend areas.

The Procurement Consulting and Outsourcing markets are particularly busy. More on this below.

The IT Services sector is particularly interesting with several key players in the market for the best procurement talent, whilst others continue to have challenges around head count and salaries. Overall we believe that demand is up 10-15% on the first half of this year.

Category Trends

Indirect spend roles are certainly more prevalent that direct spend continuing a trend we have observed for some time.

Travel expertise is in greater demand as major organisations increase spend in this area after restrictions in recent years.  Furthermore there are improved opportunities for savings, particularly through process improvements and better use of technology and experience in this area is certainly valuable.

HR category expertise is in strong demand at present with organisations reviewing hiring costs as head count becomes a less sensitive issue.

The recovery in the Technology spending continues with software and telecom’s expertise in greatest demand.

The Interim Market

The Interim market is quiet in terms of the availability of new assignments which is causing some concern for regular contractors seeking projects for 2013.

We believe the better market for permanent staff is closely related to this trend with less organisations suffering permanent head count restrictions.  Clearly it is less expensive to employ people on salaries rather than  interim day rates.

The Procurement Leaders website has also recently commented on CPO’s reducing the amount of temporary staff.

Senior Appointments

There is evidence that there are more roles available at “Head of” and “Procurement Director” level than was the case as recently as earlier this year.  They are typically in the £90k-£140k salary range rather than the higher salaries paid for CPO roles.

There have been a small number of high profile CPO appointments but there are simply not enough roles available at this level to satisfy the career goals of the many people who aspire to this level.

The Procurement Services Market 

This is an area of great interest to us that has seen significant growth in the last two years with demand increased by nearly 45% in our network. It has intensified recently with companies planning for strong market conditions in 2013. The principal experience in demand here is:

Project Leadership in Consultancy and/or Outsourcing

Business Development experience in Consultancy and/or Outsourcing

Client/Stakeholder management excellence

Category expertise in key indirect spend areas e.g. HR, Marketing, IT, Facilities

We have commented on this particular subject in recent articles about client facing procurement consulting skills and the growth of the procurement services market in general.

Supplier Relationship Management

Whilst Vendor Management experience is valued in many procurement roles, pure SRM positions remain relatively rare in the current market.

Despite the widely recognised potential for competitive advantage through sound Vendor Management, few organisations have large dedicated teams.

Skills In Demand

Besides specific category expertise, the number one requirement for the vast majority of hiring managers we work with is undoubtedly stakeholder engagement skills.  Of course this is a vital area, particularly for those organisations seeking to effect change in how procurement influences spend.

As previously mentioned indirect spend expertise, particularly in IT, Marketing, Travel or HR is particularly sought after at present.   There are also some excellent generalist roles available covering the classic range of indirect spend areas.

Category Management remains a valuable core skill with the trend increasingly towards international experience whether it be european, EMEA or global.

P2P, e sourcing & procurement related technology experts are seeing the long awaited increase in opportunities in their specialist areas as more organisations invest in new solutions that enable process improvements, provide better data analytics and improve compliance.

If you are looking for the skills and experience we refer to above for your organisation, or want to discuss your own career options please contact Andrew Daley on 0161 776 4603 or via