What is the real impact of BREXIT on the procurement job market?

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
to us.

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.

People & Hiring Challenges Research

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:

  1. What is your biggest people challenge?
  2. 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.

Here’s the link to the survey.

Please get involved.

What our clients say about us, says a lot about us

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.

The Trusted Badge of Quality

Following a rigorous external referencing procedure Edbury Daley has been awarded full accreditation by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

In order to qualify for the accreditation and APSCo membership, Edbury Daley agreed to a strict code of conduct and passed an external quality audit with clients and candidates.

APSCo accreditation and membership “gives candidates and employers a trusted badge of quality” to reference and peace of mind that Edbury Daley is committed to excellence in recruitment.

As part of the external quality audit, numerous Edbury Daley clients and candidates were contacted. Questions asked covered the nature of the relationship with the company, awareness of any unethical dealings and any reasons why APSCo should not accept the company’s application for accreditation and membership.

Additional feedback from clients and candidates alike was unanimously positive and key to Edbury Daley securing accreditation, with the most frequent comments including ‘professional’, ‘great values’ and ‘reliable’ through to ‘honest’, ‘trustworthy’ and ‘integrity’.

Simon Edbury, director at Edbury Daley comments: “It’s fantastic to have the recognition for the quality of our conduct and for all our clients and candidates to see via the APSCo logo. We are always looking for ways to improve the experience of interacting with our business and our membership of APSCo is an important milestone on this journey.”

Edbury Daley bring their expertise to your screens

Video content is a huge part of both our personal and business lives now. So we’ve decided to embrace the trend and have produced some videos aimed at sharing our professional experience with you.

Our ‘vlogs’ will help you understand more about how you can improve your recruitment methods when hiring, advance your own career and learn more about the job market trends in areas like procurement technology.

We have had them produced professionally and the content is based on our many years of experience working in the world of recruitment and the procurement sector.

In the week before Christmas, we spent a very enjoyable day filming what we believe will be some really valuable content. Take a look at the pictures below as Andrew, Simon and Pete make their debuts in front of the camera.

Hiring a specialist creative video producer proved to be a wise investment as we are delighted with the final results. The series of short videos will be published in February 2019 so watch out for details on social media and via our monthly e-briefing newsletter.

The future of your career – part 2

What are your training and education options?

This is the second in the series where my objective is to help procurement professionals equip themselves with the skills to embrace the digital procurement revolution. Each article will share valuable resources to help facilitate personal development. The links at the end of this particular piece focus on training and further education resources.

Imagine this scenario. You hear about a job opportunity that sounds really exciting, you might have seen an advert, heard about it through your personal network or been contacted by a recruiter about it, but it’s really got your attention. You think: “that’s what I want for the next stage of my career”.

Now this job offers the chance to really embrace the potential of procurement technology and that’s where you see your career going, but your current employer has been held back from supporting your ambitions because of internal barriers to adopting the latest spend management solutions.

But this other company has a visionary procurement leader and one of the best solutions available in the market today. You’ve read that they are really using it effectively and seem determined to get the best value they can in S2C, P2P, supply chain collaboration etc in future. That’s what you want – a chance to work in that environment.

This is a situation I envisage becoming more common because we are approaching a tipping point in the professional job market, particularly in procurement. I’ll come back to this tipping point subject later in this article.

So how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd if you haven’t got experience in a relevant spend management solution?

Before I answer that, here’s something to consider. The other side of this particular coin is the problem facing the hiring manager at the company in question. He or she is struggling to find these skills for the salary range they want to pay because they are in such short supply in the market generally, and everyone who is interested in applying for this role wants to develop the skills in question but doesn’t have them yet.

So what’s the solution?

Well my advice to the hiring manager in this situation would be to take a very pragmatic approach to this piece of recruitment.

This is because the perfect candidate (which rarely exists anyway!) might not be available to them because they are ahead of the curve on the use of procurement tech, and most external talent won’t be at the same level as their existing people.

So the manager needs to identify a list of essential and desirable skills, but he/she must understand that they may have to hire principally on transferable skills and the ability to develop the other key skills in the medium term. So they need to really think about longer-term potential rather than hiring someone who can do the job from day one.

So back to you. You are in competition with people with similar procurement skills, the same aspirations, but little or no direct experience of using the relevant generation of technology.

How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?

In the absence of suitable opportunities within your current employer, the answer is a program of self-development using relevant studying resources.

By doing as much as possible to learn about your skills gaps, you can bridge that gap and send a very powerful message to the hiring manager in the process. You are effectively saying “I haven’t been able to get these skills in my current job, so I’ve invested a great deal of my own time learning about them”.

That gives you a steeper learning curve that will get you into a position where you are effective, more quickly than those who haven’t done this AND it tells the hiring manager you’ve got the right ambitions, attitude and qualities. THIS CAN BE HUGELY PERSUASIVE TO A TOP FLIGHT PROCUREMENT LEADER.

So what resources are out there to help you on this journey?

Unfortunately, there are no specific training courses available on the CIPS website for digital procurement. However here are some alternatives.

Procurement Technology

If you are particularly interested in focusing on the use of spend management solutions in the future, then this route may be for you.

Most vendors offer online training services to support the use of their solutions. It may be worth contacting them directly to see if you can pay to use these services if your employer isn’t a customer.  Here are some examples of what’s available:

Many of the vendors offer free webinars to demonstrate their solutions. Of course, they are designed to sell the solution and generate leads for their salespeople to follow up, but they are generally a worthwhile exercise to see how it all works. Spend Matters promote quite a few of them so keep an eye on their site and/or register on the individual vendor websites so they email you with dates.

Even if you can’t make the exact time it’s still worth registering as you can usually access the content afterwards via a recording. You’ll also hear about their events if you are on the mailing list and they are generally worth attending if you get invited.

Professional bodies like The P2P Network also produce some good content. Here’s a link to their webinar archive.

Similar to eWorld, The P2P Network also have an event that offers some interesting content where you can learn from the various presentations. The next eWorld is on the 5th March 2019 whilst the P2P Networks Annual Summit is 5th June. Here’s the speaker line up (I’m delighted to have been invited to take part): Both events are also a great opportunity to network with peers.

Further Education

An alternative way to approach your personal development is further education through a formal qualification. The benefit of something like an MBA is that it could give you a broader business perspective which would help with the development of skills like business partnering and supplier collaboration which are perceived to be of greater value moving forward.

There’s also a variety of MSc courses in procurement and supply chain. Here’s a useful article on the various options.

So I hope you have found this article useful. I talk about this sort of thing nearly every day of my working life but hopefully, it will be helpful to you as a guide to what you can achieve and the value of it. Some might say that this is obvious, but even those who “get it” are rarely able to find the time in their busy lives to dedicate some time to self-education.

My advice is to find that time, whether you take a few days off, promise yourself you’ll do an hour every weekend or commit to enrolling on a new course because time invested now will pay dividends in the future. I’ll talk about why this is the case in one of my forthcoming videos entitled The Tipping Point – the future of the procurement job market. Watch out for that in January 2019.

Andrew Daley

Director

New Procurement & Spend Management Insider due for publication

Early November will see the publication of a new edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider.  It tells us that “we live in a period of significant change with uncharted waters ahead of us.  Times are changing, politically, economically and technologically.  All of these considerations have implications for the procurement profession.  They present both new challenges and exciting opportunities.”

The report, widely viewed by the procurement and spend management professions as the leading analysis of its kind, will tell you what we are hearing and seeing from our unique vantage point as specialist recruiters and thought leaders working at the forefront of the developments in the profession.

We will address several key issues including:

  • All the latest news from the procurement technology sector
  • Observations on recruitment market trends including procurement leadership, the interim market, procurement technology and consulting
  • The impact of Brexit on the job market and procurement profession
  • Views on the recent Procurement Technology events and the subjects discussed
  • Thoughts on the future of the procurement skill set
  • Advice on how to progress your career in an automated world. 

There are several easy ways to get access to the report as follows:

Download the last version published March here, you’ll automatically be added to the mailing list.

Follow us on Twitter or Linked In and watch out for our posts at the end of the month.

Email us at info@edburydaley.com asking for a copy.

Procurement Leaders – The Talent Attraction Reality – Part 2

In our previous article on this subject, my colleague Simon Edbury wrote about the opportunities that exist for procurement functions to help improve their organisation’s approach to Talent Attraction.

I thought it would be valuable to share an example of best practice in recruitment to illustrate the benefits it can bring, benefits which beg the question “why do so many procurement functions continue to apply an old school methodology to how they manage their recruitment spend” because that’s what we still see in our day to day work.

At Edbury Daley we have had a clear message to the market for some time now and in simple terms, it reads like this:

There is a talent shortage in most areas of the procurement technology marketplace so if you want to hire the best people you need to start thinking differently about how you approach your recruitment.

It’s a message that the clients who value our service really understand and it is best demonstrated by the procurement solution providers that we recruit for and their customers who need key skills to reap the rewards of their investment in the technology available.

With greater emphasis being put on the digital procurement skill set, these market conditions are going to get more acute and that’s one key reason why we are committing ourselves to that area. It’s the future of procurement and companies that are serious about hiring those skills will need our sort of expertise if they want to achieve their recruitment objectives.

In our recent Insider report, we talked about the market conditions for these sorts of in-house appointments. Here’s what we had to say:

One area that … may lead to growth in in-house procurement technology roles is Spend Analytics.

We are seeing more evidence of dedicated roles in this area having worked some interesting projects ourselves and heard about others that have been advertised or made through internal appointments.

A typical example would be that of an organisation already using one or more elements of a broad platform, for example, S2C, P2P, contract management etc. and therefore capturing plenty of potentially valuable data but not using it effectively.

By appointing a specialist to review the existing landscape, assess the available data and formulate a strategy to implement an effective Spend Analytics strategy, procurement leaders are starting to realise the value available in the data.

In making these appointments we are considering people from both the procurement profession and from much broader data science backgrounds depending on the preferences of the hiring managers.

However, we are still at the stage where we have more conversations with leaders who are planning in this area than those who are able to instruct us to start the hiring process.

The aforementioned appointment of a Procurement Data Lead for a FTSE 100 pharma company was an excellent example of a client investing in its supplier relationship to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Here’s what they did that ultimately made the difference:

They consulted with us at the very beginning of the process when scoping out the role. This enabled them to:

  1. a) understand the availability of the required skills
  2. b) assess the likely cost in terms of salary
  3. c) set realistic expectations within the business about the choices available to them.

They then worked with us to develop a realistic job specification for the role featuring both essential and desirable skills/experience. I believe our guidance here was very beneficial to the client.

We then helped them develop the go to market strategy for this role which would arm us with the ammunition required to convince both active, and more perhaps importantly passive job seekers, that this was a role offering a great career opportunity and therefore worthy of serious consideration

They gave us exclusivity on the recruitment process which incentivised us to go the extra mile in candidate sourcing, confident in the belief that our time and effort would be rewarded.

So by the time we went to the market we were armed with everything we needed to attract the best relevant talent for our client and they had both a clear brief and a realistic expectation of what they could hire for the desired salary band.

The result was a successful appointment despite the relative scarcity of the desired skill set. We attribute much of the success to the partnering approach the client took with us in the planning stage of the process. It set a tone for the entire recruitment campaign that many would do well to replicate.

If your approach to recruitment would benefit from this type of approach and the use of our expertise in the procurement technology world, it would be interesting to discuss how we can help you. 

Why not get in touch via andrew@edburydaley.com

The Future of Procurement Part 3

Blog - Globe

Technology and the Procurement Skill Set 

It’s clear that we believe that the increased use of technology by procurement and supply chain presents real opportunities for the function to advance in many different ways. Based on what we hear from our attendance at various events and through the conversations we have all the time with the procurement leaders in our network, the obvious area of advancement is in the use of technology and particularly the power of the data.

So is this the area that can unlock the opportunity for procurement departments to move beyond a savings dominated agenda? Will it make their contribution more important strategically, increasing efficiency and releasing resources in the process?

We recently observed a respected leading procurement consultant saying words to the effect that future procurement teams will need to develop new skills as transactional tasks become increasingly automated due to innovation. He ventured that analytical roles will grow in importance as will the need to track the impact of the solutions otherwise “how will we demonstrate the value of the investment in the software?”

Some more thoughts from Justin Sadler-Smith of SAP Ariba on the subject of how the latest generation procurement technology/software can help facilitate the evolution of the procurement function from a savings obsessed agenda to a broader contribution for mid-market and enterprise organisations.

“Savings is the day job and still the focus for most procurement professionals. However, the actual savings reported are regularly challenged in term of P&L impact and, taken in isolation, can undermine the significant value a procurement professional can deliver. “Technology exists today to provide a single source of truth with supplier engagement across the Procurement Lifecycle.
This is either through single platform or via best of breed… the preference being the former to avoid costly and time-consuming additional integration. “It still amazes me that some organisations have still to be persuaded on the value of Cloud.

This opens up so much possibility, particular with big data and transparency. Done with the right applications, this data becomes actionable information available across the organisation to make informed decisions. This is where the procurement function can shine and deliver far in excess of questionable cost savings.

“For example, by allowing the transactional areas to be automated, Procurement professionals can now be targeted to strategic initiatives i.e. supplier risk mitigation and innovation. “Those organisations who have taken this step with utilising the latest technology have a clear competitive advantage and Procurement has a seat at the table rather than under it.”

We’ve done a lot of research on this and we believe the future of procurement is doubtless going to be shaped by data, but this means more than simply digitizing invoices. Gathering data from sources such as Aggregator, Northern Lights and SupplierIQ can allow you to build strong models when combined with your own data, but less obvious choices can have a huge impact on the efficacy of your overall forecasting too.

A good example of this is at IBM – they acquired The Weather company in order to make use of the massive amount of data they have and use it to inform clients about possible risks in the supply chain long before they become an actual issue. Utilising data in this fashion doesn’t mean replacing the whole procurement department with data scientists; at IBM they’re evolving their current procurement practitioners into consultants by making them more aware of data.

The future procurement consultant may well be a hybrid data scientist and procurement professional, and with few people in the industry with this specialism, they will be in high demand. The new generation of Chief Data Officers or Chief Digital Officers as some organisations are branding them are all about how they use the data, not just the digitising of it. Tools like Watson Analytics are going to be a big part of this and procurement needs to embrace them.

Of course procurement practitioners will still need relationship building and influencing skills as has been the case for many years, but something like AI can be hugely helpful by improving efficiency in areas like the development category management strategies. What is clear is that the procurement skill set is going to evolve further on the back of advancements in technology. There is an opportunity to use this to change the perception at board level and procurement leaders will need to decide on a strategy of how to achieve this. They will need to hire and/or train these new skills whilst maintaining a strong sense of the core skills like stakeholder engagement and strategic sourcing.

As mentioned earlier in this report, we are starting to see an increase in specialist roles dedicated to the use of data in procurement departments. It’s still a relatively rare skill set and one we would encourage ambitious procurement professionals to embrace with an eye on their professional development. We are working with The Data Science Foundation to promote procurement as an attractive career choice, particularly for their growing graduate membership. We expect our clients to benefit from this association in future as we seek out the best talent in the profession.

In case you missed it:
Future of Procurement Part 1 – Brexit
Future of Procurement Part 2 – Procurement CSR

And if you’d like to read the full Insider report you can download it here.

 

 

The Future of Procurement Part 2

Procurement CSR – can procurement be a force for good? 

Our team attended a very interesting presentation by Peter Smith from Spend Matters at eWorld in which he asked how procurement can be a force for good? Reflecting on his career  in the profession, Peter talked about various areas where procurement can influence decisions beyond cost savings that have a much broader impact on organisations. One of the opportunities he talked about for procurement to have real influence is in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is of course a vital area for many retailers and manufacturers.

Our Head of Research, Sharmina August, also attended a very informative presentation by Andy Davies of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium, in which he stressed that procurement and supply chain professionals really can have a positive influence on people’s lives if they take the opportunities that are open to them. We asked him for this thoughts for this report.

He told us: “Procurement and supply chain professionals have the opportunity to help millions of people who are trapped in conditions that threaten their human rights.“Technology allows for far greater transparency in supply chains than ever before, and ignorance of slavery is no longer a valid excuse. It’s not about cancelling contracts with suppliers who have poor employment practices, but working with them to manage the risks, improve conditions and lift workers out of slavery. Truly, procurement can and should be a force for good.”

The issue of child labour and modern slavery is actually much bigger than many of us realise. There are currently thought to be 21 million people in forced labour around the world right now. That’s double the number of people taken from Africa to be enslaved between 1698 and 1900. There are no official numbers for how many people are victims of modern slavery in the UK, but the National Crime Agency believes the number to be in the tens of thousands. The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 resulted in all companies turning over £36M+ in the UK producing Modern Slavery Statements.

However it is fair to say that the extent of action in these statements varies significantly: at one end of the scale you have the likes of the John Lewis Group, spending thousands of pounds per product ensuring the supply chain is ethically sourced, and at the other you have the many companies who have a paragraph explaining that they’re asking their suppliers to make sure everything is above board.

Adidas is another organisation that has taken huge steps to eradicate forced labour from its supply chain by focusing on both its Tier One and Two suppliers. They been have consistently ranked as an industry leader by KnowTheChain, a valuable resource for companies and investors to understand and address forced labour risks within their global supply chains.

The role of procurement is no longer just about cost cutting, it is now about value in every sense of the word. Cynically, it can add greatly to a company’s image and manage its risk, but on a deeper level it can make a huge difference to the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged people. Peter Smith told us: “There are many ways procurement can contribute to these agendas – which of course can also benefit our own organisations as well as the wider world. Modern Slavery has rightly had a lot of focus recently – but whether it is issues of provenance in buying raw materials, the use of plastics, or global warming, what happens in our supply chains is critical and procurement can, therefore, have a real influence and be that force for good in many different ways.”

The future procurement practitioner will need to be able to combine their company’s procurement needs with their CSR requirements. Supply chain technology is making this an easier undertaking, and as there are few specialists in this area, it is definitely an area in which existing practitioners need to evolve to meet demand.

We asked Justin Sadler-Smith of SAP Ariba: “How can technology contribute to procurement being a force for good?” He told us: “Procurement can harness the power of sourcing and purchasing technology to ensure that when they do assess and select suppliers, they do so against clear CSR requirements.

For example, if they have access to a Supplier Network, this job is made easier both in terms of time and selection. “The more buying organisations that access the network with these requirements then create a huge surge in demand for compliant suppliers to provide transparency in their supply chains and ensure they are taking adequate steps to stop slavery, child labour, exploitation etc.“This then really shows the value Procurement can deliver… not only mitigating risk in your business, but also positively impacting the world.”

Another example of where procurement and supply chain technology can have a positive impact is the environment. Christophe Hinfray, Vice President at TK Blue Agency, which helps companies measure and reduce their environmental footprint while reducing their cost, told us: “Recent progress in Big Data and real time device tracking systems allow Supply Chain Managers to better track the situation worldwide, pilot complex activities and optimise performance as never before. Cost reduction is only one of the benefits, together with improved customer service and, last but not least, reduced pollution and CO2 emissions.”

Of course, senior roles in CSR exist in a lot of big organisations but we don’t see many examples of procurement departments employing specialists in this field. Is it time for more investment in this area?

In case you missed it, Part 1 of our Future of Procurement series of articles took a look at Brexit and in Part 3 we’ll review Technology and the Procurement Skill Set.

And if you’d like to read the full Insider report you can download it here.