The Procurement & Spend Management Job Market – Four things to watch for in 2020

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:

  1. 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.

The Autumn Procurement & Spend Management Insider – October 2019

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.

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


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.


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


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 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