A lot of companies are looking for a ‘superman’ or ‘wonder woman’ to fill their vacancy. Peter Brophy looks at the issues and challenges this causes in terms of expectations and how keeping more realistic expectations will ensure you secure the best talent for your role.
In this video Andrew Daley explores how the procurement job market is changing and why the pace of change is actually accelerating. He also looks at why you need to act if you are not to get left behind and shares some ideas about what you can do to keep ahead of the curve.
As Senior Research Consultant at Edbury Daley, I find that LinkedIn is a very valuable resource for identifying potential candidates through searches for executive vacancies. In fact, I use it every day.
So if you’re in the job market and are looking for your next position, then in my experience keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and current is vital. This is true even if you’re not looking for a move as it could make the difference between a recruiter shortlisting you for your dream job, or not.
So when conducting a search on LinkedIn, I am attracted to profiles that have the following:
- When the location defined on the profile is representative of where the candidate is actually carrying out their current role. Often the location is not up-to-date and causes confusion for the recruiter about where a candidate may be seeking a new position, so ensuring it is accurate avoids confusion and can limit the chance of you being approached about unsuitable and irrelevant opportunities.
- Clearly defined job titles that convey the candidate’s level of seniority within the company, and profiles that avoid more than one current job title which creates the impression the candidate is carrying out both at the present moment.
- A precise summary of your exact responsibilities and achievements under each position.
- A professional, relatively up-to-date photo of you and not something else. It shouldn’t be of something that relates to your hobbies, personal life or be non-work related. Profiles that don’t have a photo give the impression to the recruiter that the candidate isn’t perhaps very tech-savvy or an avid LinkedIn user.
- Clear and accurate details of your education history with the relevant qualifications.
- Profiles that avoid clear gaps in a candidate’s experience without a reason. Any detail about why you may have had a career break is useful and creates an honest impression. Each new position should follow on from the last one in terms of timing. Despite the fact that the experience that is on the profile may look great for the role in question, missing out a block of time in your career on your profile will confuse a recruiter.
If you need some guidance or further information, then please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 isn’t quite over yet but as keen observers of job market trends, it’s already clear to us that there are several factors likely to impact on the procurement world and wider professional employment markets in 2020. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Procurement Technology gains more traction?
Will 2020 be the year when the leading CPOs truly start to covet digital procurement skills?
We think so. Momentum has been building slowly for a while and the conversations we have with many leaders tell us there is more appetite now than ever.
The catalysts for many companies will be more focus on training and development supported by key strategic hires, often from organisations that are already innovators in this area.
Hiring people, who have been on the digital transformation journey and know the route to best practice use of tools like SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer and Ivalua will become increasingly common creating a more competitive market. It’s a finite pool of people, many of whom have been waiting for the opportunity to be the architect of this transformation for forward-thinking CPOs as the next chapter in their career. We’re excited about working on these projects.
2. More growth for the solution providers?
There is already expectation in the market of a big hiring push at Coupa in 2020. The talk at Coupa inspire was of a planned investment of $55m in product development with strong rumours that this will be supported by aggressive hiring. 2019 saw significant PE backing at several vendors, most notably Ivalua and Jaggaer, and of course, investors will want a return on that investment which will typically include growth in both sales and headcount.
We already know that SAP Ariba are set on continuing their aggressive growth strategy including the protection of their existing accounts which is always supported by excellent talent acquisition (watch out for some high profile arrivals there in January 2020).
Meanwhile, new ownership at Wax Digital pushes them up into the bigger leagues. It’s expected that the investment will make them more competitive, both in terms of hiring and product offering. Plenty of best of breed solutions will look to build on strong performances in 2019 so the market should continue to thrive.
The battle for talent in an already competitive market will ratchet up a few notches in 2020 and we can’t wait – it’s what we love.
3. UK Election result brings more certainty?
It feels like a dangerous area to get involved in predictions, but we can’t ignore it.
Theoretically, the decisive result of the UK election is expected by many to mean some improvement in the wider job market. The theory being that the country can now hopefully leave the last three years of Brexit related inertia behind us, meaning companies are more likely to increase investment.
However, we still have uncertainty given that the big question remains about the impact of Brexit. Talking to people in positions of influence in the market, the feeling is one of cautious optimism based on the theory that finally getting on with it has to be better than what’s happened over the last three years.
Companies can now put plans in place for life with the UK outside the EU. Procurement and technology can be at the heart of the changes and whilst we don’t expect to see big headcount increases in the corporate world, increases in demand from the vendors and consultancies, along with a less cautious approach around replacement headcount generally, should see a gradual upturn in job market activity for the procurement world overall.
4. Tough year for the UK interim market?
April 2020 sees the introduction of IR35 into the UK private sector and it’s very hard not to see it having a negative impact on the interim market, certainly in the short term.
It’s going to create uncertainty for employers, contractors and recruiters will push employment costs up and the early evidence is that it will drive some contractors back into the permanent market. This is because they fear reduced demand for their services and the financial incentives to work on a contract basis have been eroded considerably.
For some companies, it’s going to present an opportunity to hire some seasoned former interim professionals on a full-time basis, and this could be particularly helpful to the consultancies who are battling to hire valuable yet scarce skills around P2P/S2C transformation projects.
Companies that really need the flexibility offered by the interim workforce will be faced with either increased costs (day rates, employment and admin costs) or finding a way to adapt their philosophy to help them navigate the rules of IR35. Companies that are able to do the latter have an opportunity to hire some great interims who will be attracted to projects that fall outside of IR35 whilst others get to grips with the new regime.
A note of caution – there are already some alarming stories circulating about people’s perceptions of how a contract role can fall outside of the IR35 legislation. It is important to get really good advice on this, ideally before you go to market for the skills you need to hire, so you know whether your project is likely to be affected or not because the cost implications of getting it wrong are significant.
If you need some guidance, please get in touch.
In our People & Hiring Challenges research earlier this year, which received 450 responses, one of the questions we asked was: “What is your biggest hiring challenge?”
The answer with the second-highest rank, with 18% of respondees identifying as an issue, was “we aren’t seeing the right candidates.”
Our whole message to the market is built around being able to solve this specific problem for our clients in the procurement technology world. It’s also a subject that is clearly a problem for many organisations.
So with your help, we want to research the subject in more detail to help everyone better understand the issues.
Please take no more than two minutes to answer our questions, and be in with the chance of winning a £200 Amazon voucher. Here’s a link to the survey.
Our critically acclaimed report is in the pipeline, due for publication in October. Regular readers can look forward to the usual combination of news, insight, research, analysis and a bit of industry gossip including some high profile, unexpected job moves. Here’s a taster of what you can look forward to.
Movers & Shakers
The procurement technology sector has some high profile, unexpected moves in the pipeline that we’ll be able to share with you, whilst we’ll also bring news of several senior departures from one key player in the sector. There’s also news from the European market along with an update on recent results of the software vendors, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.
What’s happening in procurement leadership?
The senior end of the procurement job market was relatively active earlier this year. We’ll examine if this trend has continued into the second half of the year, where the opportunities have been and give senior professionals valuable insight into the demand for their skills.
Job Market Data
We’ll analyse the latest job market data from KPMG and both leading recruitment professional bodies (APSCo & REC) to assess what’s happening in the UK’s professional job market. We’ll look at how the trends compare to what we see in the procurement and spend management professions to keep you up to date with what your career development options look like.
People & Hiring Challenges Research
We’ve had a great response to our recent research where we asked leaders to tell us about their biggest challenges with their existing teams and the problems they face when hiring. With over 100 responses, the analysis provides very interesting insights into the real issues that businesses are facing.
There is still time to contribute before the survey closes at the end of September. It will take you less than a minute to complete so please get involved. Here it is.
If you missed the Spring edition of The Insider, it’s still free to download here.
Is your organisation struggling to hire the people it needs to progress? Do you think your recruitment process could improve? Is it geared towards genuine talent attraction?
We have seen many organisations struggle to hire the people they want. We’ve also seen how a few simple changes can make recruitment processes much more successful so that you really do hire the best people. In our experience there are five key things that make recruitment a success – sign up below to get the full insight which will help you make a difference to your hiring.
- They make sure they understand the relevant talent pool and skills available at the salary grade in question
- Ensure everyone internally is on board, role signed off, stakeholders aligned, process planned, realistic time scales set
- Are clear about their go to market strategy and have invested in their talent attraction brand.
- Select a recruiter (external or internal) who has the market knowledge and network to source and engage relevant candidates.
- Make recruitment a priority to ensure good candidates aren’t lost through delays and poor expectation management.
In more detail, the best hiring companies…
- Consider their employment proposition from a candidate’s point of view. What are the likely earnings and aspirations of an ideal candidate likely to be at their current employer? Are they offering the type of candidate they want a better package and career development? If not, they adjust the salary or the person specification. They understand the reality of the labour market for the skills needed and that if they want to source the best people who can make a difference they accept that top candidates are in short supply and do everything they can to sell their business to them. They understand they need to assess and excite the candidate at interview.
- They accept that recruiting staff is a very costly exercise if they get it wrong. It is an essential part of any business and it pays to do it properly. They ensure it is seen as a key activity and not something that is last minute or at the end of the day. It needs to be prioritised and taken as an important activity that managers allow time for. They don’t treat it as an admin process. They champion recruitment and prioritise it at Executive level.
- They consider what people outside their business really think of it and what the brand means in terms of career prospects and interesting work and more importantly as a place to work. They avoid the common mistake of thinking good candidates will apply anyway…they won’t. People inside the organisation may think it is a great place to work but ask why should an external person apply? What is their reputation? It is critical to find this out. Ensure that the person a candidate meets for their first interview has the gravitas to impress and motivate the candidate to take their interest further. It helps if the person is senior enough to give a real vision and understanding of the strategy of the business and the function. They don’t let a relatively junior team member do first interviews. Even a short meeting with a senior member of the function can make a significant difference to the perception given. They ensure that all the interviewers are briefed and understand what the business is looking for. They don’t assume every interviewer will know what is needed, they ensure it.
- Pick a recruiter who is credible and really understands the specific market place and who will act as a brand ambassador. Ensure they will provide a credible message that will resonate with prospective candidates and can genuinely interest them. A poor recruiter will diminish a company’s perception in the candidate community and produce fewer candidates to consider.
- They have a plan and stick to it. Recruitment often fails to deliver in time as most organisations don’t plan when each stage should happen or ensure all the interviewers are available. It is critical that the process runs smoothly.
The best hiring companies prioritise recruitment so interviews aren’t postponed and candidates feel that the role is important to the business. We have strong evidence that good candidates quickly become disengaged if there is a perception that the process is dragging and it also risks them getting snapped up by competitors.
They are absolutely realistic and clear from the beginning about the salary and benefits the business can offer. Too many organisations will give a salary range but are actually only able to offer at the lower end. This can be due to internal salary scales or for fear of causing problems internally if a higher figure is offered or out of budget. However this is a major and frequent mistake which can seriously mismanage candidate expectations and leads to many offer rejections. Candidates who have been approached about a role are highly unlikely to move unless there is at least a 10% increase in base salary and benefits. In a competitive market offering a small or no increase is highly unlikely to succeed unless the person has a compelling non monetary reason to move.
DATA & OPINIONS
This article is an excerpt from our Procurement and Spend Management Insider Report, published earlier this year. The picture for recruitment seems surprisingly positive and any impact of Brexit has been difficult to gauge. We have picked up mixed messages but have looked into what we can find out in terms of real data around the workforce as many studies show we are at record levels of ‘employment’.
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) clearly has a strong interest in the labour market. It commissioned research that shows there was a 95% reduction in EU nationals joining the UK workforce between the referendum and Q1 last year and this has no doubt continued as their Autumn Employment Outlook indicated that 44% of employers were struggling to hire, particularly in certain niche areas and additionally that the number of non-EU nationals arriving has significantly fallen.
It may well be that this sudden reduction in the arrival of people with skills of all kinds coming to the UK is ‘counter-intuitively’ one key reason why the recruitment market has appeared to remainstrong. As the pipeline of candidates is significantly reduced vacancies are unfilled so remain ‘live’ as has been reported to us by a number of clients.
This may also back up why recruitment has seemed to be taking longer in many instances as vacancies are unfilled and stay advertised longer making it appear the jobs market is healthier than it actually is. The reality is a lower volume of vacancies but even lower fill/completion rates. CIPD evidence indicates a fall of 30% in the number of applicants to each role.
Ultimately as to whether this can be linked directly to Brexit may be a matter of personal opinion but the coincidence of workers not coming to the UK and rising skill shortages seems a clear one
This talent shortage will impact in a big way – it may just be ‘hidden’ for now. Organisations may need to plan ahead carefully and consider the implications of this candidate shortfall on their hiring plans.
The Institute for Employment Studies has also investigated the likely impacts on the employment marketplace of Brexit and has published a number of articles on this subject.
THE HR PRACTITIONER VIEWPOINT
Speaking to some of our HR contacts, many see the current situation as one of mitigating risks and the need to put plans in place. The typical view is that they have to assume that Brexit may well happen and that as things stand certain legislative changes will come in linked to immigration that needs to be thought through now.
If it doesn’t happen, so be it, but until that point they need to plan for the impact.
Many felt the CIPD research was correct and that skills shortages are becoming more acute so therefore staff retention (particularly of EU and non-EU staff) is seen as a very high HR priority.
In many organisations, HR is encouraging EU citizens to go through the new Government registration scheme as it seems likely to be needed (unless we stay in) and the new migration points system will likely be introduced in 2021 making it harder to bring people into the UK.
Therefore, HR people are quite clear that the labour market will most likely significantly tighten over the next two years until 2021 regardless of how we exit and then dependent on the deal the UK
strikes may prove even more difficult going forward.
In this context, their view is that organisational approaches to recruiting and the job requirements may need to be totally reviewed and flexed. Be ready for HR initiatives on retaining staff as they see this is likely to be imperative especially in business-critical roles.
Simplistically the HR view is that since the referendum it is harder to recruit and is highly likely to get significantly harder.
Organisations will need to think very carefully about resourcing. One key observation is that when certain key staff resign it may well be that counter offers will become standard.
In a tight labour market organisations may not be able to afford to lose certain skills and in this context, it will become a highly candidate driven market with the highest bidding organisation winning.
We’ve seen significant evidence of this in the past six months with counter offers more common during that period than has been the case for several years. Interestingly many senior candidates are expecting such offers before they resign and are even factoring this into their negotiations.
We are advising our clients to be more mindful of this challenge and have seen several candidates resist such overtures as a result, but ultimately there is a limit to how much you can manage this risk.
The Institute for Employment Studies also has investigated the likely impacts on the employment marketplace of Brexit and specifically the freedom of movement. This article offers some interesting reading.
We are passionate about talent and love connecting great talent with fantastic career opportunities.
It’s a big part of what motivates us every day.
And the more we understand about the subject, the more we can help people and companies.
So we’re undertaking some further research into the issues that we care about and we will be sharing the results with the participants and our valued clients.
We are asking just two questions:
- What is your biggest people challenge?
- What is your biggest hiring challenge?
We know you are busy and that there are a lot of surveys out there.
But with only two multiple-choice questions this one will only take 30-60 seconds to complete, including leaving your name and email address so you can be entered into the draw to win a £200 Amazon voucher.
Please get involved.
We instigated some timely new research on the choice of recruitment and selection methods and the impact of those choices on the success rate of a getting a quality recruit in to the hiring business.
As the global economy recovers many companies are pursuing significant growth plans. Often, the key constraining factor is the ability to hire and retain the skills and expertise needed. Employer Branding and Talent Communities are becoming the new parlance of Human Resource Management as bigger corporations embrace the advent of social media to gain an advantage in finding the people they need.
Every recruitment business claims to offer high levels of service, to operate with integrity and provide unbiased advice. If this were true why has the recruitment industry got such a patchy reputation?
The answer: most recruiters’ claims far outstrip their service and delivery.
In a bid to sure up their reputation, some recruitment firms collect testimonials from their candidates. Candidates say nice things. Because they were cherry picked. Because they just got a new job and a better salary. Because they don’t pay for the service.
So as a fee-paying client looking to employ the services of a recruitment company, are these testimonials a good indication as to what service you’ll receive? I’ll let you decide.
Below are direct quotes from Edbury Daley’s customers who have all paid for our services to provide them with the best possible people for their businesses. And we think what they say, says a lot about us.
“No hesitation in recommending them”
“Professional, honest and reliable”
“Supportive, engaging and thorough”
“A credit to their profession”
“A highly reputable agency”
“Trustworthy, effective with great integrity”
“Ethical, transparent and diligent”
“A pleasure to work with”
If you feel this positively about your existing recruiters, then I wish you every success with your future recruitment. If not, find our contact details below.
In my opinion, you need the advice and knowledge of someone who understands this specific niche market and that’s where recruiters like Edbury Daley can make a difference.
We’ve already enjoyed success in this market for a while but as we knew this development would come sooner rather than later, we made it our long term objective to replicate our success in the permanent market for procurement technology specialists by making ourselves the go-to supplier for the associated interim market.
There are details of what we are doing to achieve this, but before we get to that we need to address what needs to be on your agenda if you are planning a transformation project around the adoption of a digital procurement solution and want to consider hiring an interim.
Clearly defined requirements – plan this so you can take control of the skills you need to hire rather than being reactive and having to firefight mid-way through a project.
A clear plan on when you intend to hire – too many organisations get this wrong and go to market at the wrong time making life harder for themselves. Plan ahead, decide on how to source the people you need and identify realistic, achievable timescales.
A realistic budget – get some advice on the likely cost of the resource you need.
With the two latter points, many organisations often overlook the value of engaging a specialist recruiter that can advise and help plan ahead. If you want to gain an advantage on your competition for these scarce resources, don’t treat the recruiter as a necessary evil and view the relationship as transactional when you can get real value from some basic SRM practices – that’s what our most successful clients do!
So what is it that makes us so well positioned to advise in this area? Here’s a sample of what we are doing to ensure we can meet the needs of our clients:
- Use our extensive network across the procurement technology market to identify who is buying or upgrading solutions, embarking on new projects or finishing existing contracts.
- Using a range of methods to build relationships with every relevant interim specialist in the European market. For example, we attend relevant events like eWorld, Procurement Leaders and SAP Ariba Live to build and evaluate the relevant talent pool.
- We provide existing customers with regular updates on the availability of specialist contractors to support their resource planning.
What will that mean for CPOs, CFOs and CIOs invested in these projects?
- We can advise them on which contractors are available now and when others will be free in the short term.
- We can advise them on developments in day rates and candidate availability as we are building detailed knowledge about the skills landscape in this niche market.
- We are involved in the sector and monitoring the peaks and troughs in supply and demand meaning that contractors are coming to us first looking for new roles because we are specialists with a strong reputation in the market.
So that’s the good news. We know what’s happening, we are advising our clients and doing everything in our power to help them achieve their goals because that means a successful outcome for us.
But there is some bad news that is hard to sugar coat. IR35 is coming to the private sector interim market and that is going to have cost implications for us all! Employers, recruiters and contractors!
With this in mind, we have also invested significant time and resources into understanding the impact of the forthcoming changes in IR35 tax legislation. If this is something on your radar that you need to know more about, I’m sure we can help. If it’s not on your radar yet, it needs to be soon.
The key thing to note at this stage is that it’s going to affect the majority of contractors in any project that goes beyond April 2020. That might seem a long way off at the moment, but if you’ve got a transformation project starting later this year and you intend to use interim resources, you will need to account for it in your budget.
The only bit of good news I can offer around an increase in tax costing you more of your budget is that we are well placed to advise you on the implications. I’ll keep attending the IR35 seminars, reading the briefing papers we get from our professional body (APSCo) and keep sharing the information with our clients to help them plan ahead.
If any of the issues I have raised in this article are likely to impact your business then maybe it’s time to get in touch with me. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and I’m confident that it will help you understand the value of planning your recruitment in advance.