What are the challenges of recruiting in the current environment and how are companies overcoming them?

At times like this, particularly for specialist roles, taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach to recruitment is almost guaranteed to cause problems. Typically you need to step back and adopt a tailored approach for the role you are focusing on (whether hiring or looking for a new position).  Working with people who really know the market and what is happening at any given time can help you design a strategy that will help overcome these problems.

Here at Edbury Daley we are happy to discuss some of the options available to you that will help improve your chances of success.  These are based on what we’ve been doing with our customers and candidates dating back to the start of the pandemic.  Here are some of the subjects we’ve seen the in market in the past six months:

Assessment

One of the key challenges is that it is harder to actually assess and interview candidates remotely. Many organisations are now recruiting online but many have made the mistake of simply duplicating their old process, not appreciating that video interviewing is actually a whole different ball game. 

Is your company using a video interviewing tool that is fit for purpose and aids the process? You need to be careful that your candidate may not be familiar with your video conferencing platform which may cause problems, both technical and how they perform in an unfamiliar environment.

How do you fully assess someone when you aren’t actually meeting them – are you missing those subtle non-verbal cues? Many of the usual normal non-verbal clues can be completely missed on video. Furthermore, how can you fully assess candidates and ensure they are not just desperate for a job or one of the poor performers your competitors happily cast off?

Like most things in life, experience counts but in this area people need to learn quickly to avoid expensive mistakes.  We’ve learnt a lot from observing clients get it right and occasionally wrong in recent months and are now using this knowledge to improve success rates.

Candidate attraction

In this market you must ensure whoever is doing your recruiting (internally or third party) is a fantastic ambassador for your company and can effectively convey your job proposition to a prospective candidate, thus maximising the chances of them getting interested and wanting to take it further at a time when they may feel staying in their current role is a safer option.

Ensure the list of candidate targets is long enough to give you a strong chance of finding those who are willing to take the risk of a job move. Yes, for some roles it’s partially a numbers game and a real test of thoroughness, but if you know the best candidates in the market for any skill set you gain a major advantage which is why specialist knowledge is critical.  It’s worth noting that talent pooling or mapping can be very effective if done correctly to support a long term hiring plan.

Finally, start pipelining candidates before you are ready to hire. In other words, reach out to candidates who look like they could be a fit for your organisation and start a dialogue. Be transparent about when you are hoping to hire and view this as investing in a relationship via regular, meaningful contact.

Candidate Experience

Managing your candidate experience might not seem like a top priority at a time when many companies are cutting heads or freezing hiring. But in a market when this aspect of recruitment typically deteriorates, then how you treat candidates really impacts your talent brand now and in the long run and may make it harder to attract candidates when you’re ready to start hiring again. 

Nearly 46% of hiring professionals said the outbreak has negatively affected the candidate experience at their company, according to our recent survey. 

Whether you’re putting things on ice, crafting a totally remote candidate experience, or continuing business as usual, it’s critical to keep candidates updated in such a rapidly changing situation.

You need to proactively reach out and let them know what to expect or risk bad PR.

Again if you are stretched internally right now how can you do this?

What opportunities exist that smart companies can embrace?

Remote Talent

One option to give some thought to is where do your people need to be located now?

The shift to more homeworking is likely to become permanent for at least a few days a week for many then roles that were recruited locally now can be recruited regionally, nationally or even internationally? Many people unhappy to commute 3-4 days a week into London for example may be perfectly happy with travelling in for a couple?

Organisations who can  take advantage of this and are open to longer distance remote working may find it could help them build the team they have always wanted; with the right talent for the right job.

However this is difficult to do if your HR and talent people are too busy or have limited market knowledge or don’t know who the good people are regionally or interims who would consider a perm role but are not prepared to relocate.

Talent Pool

Many organisations have talked about this over the last few years but very few in our experience have really made it work. Many organisations really only have list of targets or the availability of skill sets in certain locations, not real talent pools of identified potential hires who are engaged for future opportunities and know what you could offer them.

HR typically don’t have the time to do this right now (some would argue this was the norm previously)  but now is the time to really focus on this so you can get in the best people to either protect or grow your business.

What are your key roles and what are the risks of key people leaving right now. How would you replace them and what do you need? 

If you don’t have this in house you need to consider how you can act and quickly and we can advise on the best way to do this particularly if you are likely to hire in a few months time not immediately.

Get a head start on these challenges and use a specialist to help

A true specialist recruiter will know the market both in the UK and internationally and will have a pre-existing reputation and brand that will give them credibility with people who might not typically respond to adverts or head hunting approaches from people they don’t know.

Many of the top performers and good candidates in that market will be connections and often will have spoken to them before. They will be well networked and know who to talk to and critically who the good performers are. Key candidates will take the call and will listen and typically trust their advice more.

A true specialist knows the market and who the best people in it are, and they will be known to them either personally or by reputation. It may seem obvious but this awareness makes a big difference to people as against a ‘cold approach’ and the percentage who will respond positively to the approach significantly increases.

Ultimately a tailored and well thought through approach by a recruiter who knows the market and has a positive market reputation is more important than ever right now if your business really needs the best top performing people. 

If your role is business critical, can you really afford not to get a headstart in terms of candidate attraction talent pooling and assessment?  When you look at the situation that way, it becomes clearer that not paying for the right professional advice is a false economy.

Of course this article has covered a wide range of issues affecting the market today.  If any of these resonate with you we may be able to help so if you are hiring in our specialist areas of procurement technology, spend management, finance and payments tech’, analytics, procurement or supply chain then please do get in touch.

We are also happy to help if you need general guidance on how to recruit outside our specialist areas.

Peter Brophy

Associate Director

peter@edburydaley.com

Peter Brophy is a CIPD qualified HR professional with significant experience of leading in-house Talent Attraction teams particularly in the Consulting sector before he joined Edbury Daley.

The dynamics of professional recruitment markets – how are they changing?

In this article, Peter Brophy examines a number of critical factors affecting hiring in the current climate including:

  • Professional recruitment activity has been severely disrupted by C19.
  • Capacity in the recruitment sector is drastically reduced.
  • Top performers can perceive job moves as risky.
  • People think recruiting has become easier but making great hires can be harder than ever.
  • What are your options when hiring for a key role?
  • Recruitment models will take time to adapt.

One of Edbury Daley’s most popular and most read articles over the past couple of years was on the subject of the various different Recruitment Models that are used by large organisations. It discussed how recruitment actually worked in reality, and was written to help our clients and candidates get some insight into the sector, so they could improve their own hiring or job search strategies.

Similar to many other professions, these recruitment models were evolving as recruiters embraced new trends in social media and increasingly adopted the use of AI and Digital solutions. However the recruitment market has been severely disrupted by C19 in ways that were never anticipated. At the height of the pandemic the recruitment industry reported drops of up to 80% in permanent recruitment and 50% in temporary markets. 

All bets were off and Internal Recruitment and Talent teams were suddenly faced with headcount freezes and hiring blocks on all but critical roles.

This has several affected capacity in both internal recruitment teams and external suppliers.

The market has bounced back to a degree since then but is still some way short of pre-pandemic levels.  In many sectors it’s recovering slowly as this report from KPMG and the REC shows. 

We don’t actually know yet what the ‘new normal’ will be but we do know that many of the potential changes and pre-existing trends to adopting new technology or ways of working have been amplified, so some of these changes have accelerated.

In tandem with the crash in recruitment volumes many organisations and external recruiters had to furlough a significant proportion of their people.  Many face the real prospect of redundancy before the year is over. As the UK furlough scheme comes to an end, anecdotal evidence indicates that many will take advantage of the Chancellors new Job Support Scheme meaning many recruiters will be working reduced hours or not at all. This has big implications for recruitment and the way it works.

Another major impact is that with increasing redundancies there are unfortunately more people looking for jobs, just at a time when there are fewer recruiters to deal with the impact of this e.g. huge advert responses often made up of largely unsuitable candidates.

So It should get easier to find good, available people right?

As we all know many organisations furloughed staff and as we reach the end of the scheme we are seeing a wave of redundancies particularly in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

That should mean if you are hiring you will get plenty of good candidates right?

Well, actually not necessarily, no!

There are some big issues to challenge this assumption.

Recruitment actually gets a lot harder in a recession, not easier as recruitment models and behaviours change, particularly if you really need to find the best candidates, not just anyone to fill a seat, and that is the case in professional recruitment where head count is limited and leaders need the right person to fit the team, achieve targets engage customers, suppliers or stakeholders.

If your business is up against it in terms of pressure to deliver, then it may seem counterintuitive but recruiting directly for the ‘first’ people who apply could be the most expensive mistake you make.

The big challenges to overcome when recruiting right now

This ultimately is related to quality versus quantity and the impact on internal recruiters / HR.

Yes the volume of available candidates has increased and many people have lost jobs through no fault of their own, particularly in the badly affected sectors.

However most organisations are looking closely at their headcount costs as they try to remain profitable against often unpredictable demand. We know that many are using this as an opportunity to lose the poorer performers, often the ‘bottom’ 5 or 10% of their workforce or those in ‘non-core’ departments.

It is rarely admitted but few organisations will allow their better performers to go or lose their best people unless absolutely necessary for business survival. Think of your own business and how much you need your best people right now.

Equally important is the psychology of those remaining who feel relatively ‘safe’. Would you risk a move right now if your job appears ‘safe and you are performing well? There is also the old ‘last in first out’ adage and many feel moving to a new employer is a risk unless it is in a strongly performing business or sector. 

The reality is that most top performers in any profession or sector are sitting tight and making sure they are safe right now and do not want to take the risk of joining a new ‘unknown’ company unless they face redundancy themselves

Therefore the reality right now is that typically the volume of applicants to any given job is often higher, but critically the quality or relevance of those candidates may actually go down.

Another critical factor to consider is that due to the economy many people are desperate for a job so they will apply for anything, so are they really after your job or just any?  Will they take the first job they are offered and then resign as soon as a good job in their sector or preferred environment comes back? That risk is actually very high so when you think of the total cost per hire, the time wasted in the process, the problem of finding replacements etc it makes sense to tread cautiously.

So think carefully – yes you’ll get lots of applicants and potentially fill a role quickly but are the vast majority of the newly available and relatively inexpensive candidates really the people you want to hire?

Don’t you owe it to yourself and your business to think a bit more strategically and carefully about how you recruit right now?

The impact on internal recruitment / HR

Often internal recruitment teams are one of the first hit by cost-cutting and are typically very vulnerable in a recession. In the financial crisis of 2008 many were severely cut and it took a year or two before they bounced back. We have seen many being badly affected already in this Covid crisis. In fact, RPO and Outsourced Recruitment arrangements seem particularly badly affected as they are often linked to a flexible demand based resourcing model.

HR often have to deal with recruitment as well, but the function has been swamped by a number of conflicting priorities at the same time such as working from home, health and safety, mental health, furloughing staff and redundancies along with restructuring etc.  These issues are ongoing for them and unlikely to disappear any time soon, so this impacts on their capacity across the board.

So are you surprised that resourcing or recruitment may not top of mind for your HR colleagues right now? Or that it is one of many priorities they are struggling to juggle?

What are my options if I’m hiring for a key role?

So if your Recruitment and HR functions are constrained by limited capacity and you have a business critical hire what are your options?

Sorting through your own advert response will be time consuming, particularly in the current market with job seekers adopting a “nothing ventured nothing gained” mentality which is only exacerbated by the ability to apply to an advert in a handful of clicks.

Spending money on recruitment fees is a sensitive subject for many organisations who are scrutinising costs more than ever, but it can be money well spent if a credible, specialist recruiter is able to bring strong candidates into the process swiftly.  Particularly if their knowledge and network enables them to identify risk averse candidates who wouldn’t apply to job adverts, but could be interested in quality opportunities if engaged in the correct way.

Also bear in mind that with the recruitment sector facing its own commercial challenges, there has never been a better time to negotiate reductions in fees and maximise your value from the process.

The value of a good, specialist recruiter is emphasised when the job market displays extreme criteria, whether that be acute skills shortages, too many candidates or overcoming issues like job security fears, yet many people don’t realise that side of what they offer.

What does this mean if you are looking for a role?

Organisation’s HR people or in house recruiters are typically either feeling overworked or dealing with many priorities and are swamped. In some organisations the recruitment team will be much reduced or gone altogether.

Specialist in house team recruiters often suffer the worst headcount reductions as the business focuses on its core roles, so specialist knowledge in the team is often lost (such as procurement, sales and other commercially focused roles) and the generalist recruiters are retained to focus on core operational roles.

Many recruitment agencies (particularly broad generalist ones) face similar challenges as they focus on core areas and with reduced fees often focus only on those (clients and candidates) likely to make them a fee.

What does that mean for the candidate experience? Well typically the impact is a negative one with much slower response times, often a lack of feedback, or just poor communication generally leading to a feeling of wasted time and effort.

In some sectors there has been a deluge of applicants and when compounded by there  being fewer recruiters it has inevitably meant that candidate experience has significantly  declined. 

We know that many people are not hearing back from adverts or applications and are rarely getting feedback. Many candidates tell us they fear their CV has gone into a big black hole and of being lost amongst many applicants, particularly when they have applied online or via social media sites or even company websites.

The companies are subject to increased volume of applicants often sometimes, irrelevant or of low quality or from those just desperate for any job at any salary…..

Internal managers may need to recruit a replacement but may struggle to get budget or headcount sign off or find that HR are too busy with other things or the internal recruitment team or RPO is focusing on core roles or simply can’t give each role the specific attention it needs.

What this means for candidates is that it can be a bit of a lottery unless you have a direct contact in the business or you have someone specifically interested in what happens to your CV and is talking to people at the right level so your application does get considered. 

Consider your chances of being noticed – is it best applying via a portal or job site or sending a speculative CV?   Or is it better being represented by a specialist agency where the outcome really matters to them?  They  are often more likely to be talking to someone in a senior position who needs to hire.

Of course this article has covered a wide range of issues affecting the market today.  If any of these resonate with you we maybe able to help so if you are hiring in our specialist areas of procurement technology, spend management, finance and payments tech’, analytics, procurement or supply chain then please do get in touch.

We are also happy to help if you need general guidance on how to recruit outside our specialist areas.  You can contact me via peter@edburydaley.com

Want more information?  Why not read our follow up article – What are the challenges of recruiting in the current environment and how are companies overcoming them?

Peter Brophy

Associate Director

Peter Brophy is a CIPD qualified HR professional with significant experience of leading in-house Talent Attraction teams particularly in the Consulting sector before he joined Edbury Daley.

How is the UK Procurement job market recovering?

Hiring might not be top of your agenda at the moment but the procurement profession is lucky to have one of the more robust professional job markets.   Furthermore, the profession is facing unprecedented challenges to make some major cost savings in difficult circumstances, so it’s interesting to consider how that will impact on the demand for interim and permanent resources in the procurement job market?

We thought it would be useful to help you understand what we are seeing in the market whether you are planning to hire, trying to keep your best people or considering your own options.

Firstly let’s consider some interesting data seen by Edbury Daley from a report produced by Vacancysoft in conjunction with APSCo.   The research looked at trends across all professional job markets (with salaries of £40k upwards) in London and offered sector by sector trends. It told us the following:

“Prior to the COVID-19 crisis we would expect on average that there would be between 500 and 600 professional vacancies per day in the capital, across all sectors. With that in mind we can see that at the beginning of Q2, the five day rolling average was 167, understandable given that we were in the early stages of lockdown. In contrast, on July 31st, this had increased to 358, and, in fact, there were multiple days in July where daily totals exceeded 400. While there’s certainly still some room for improvement, the capital’s hiring is clearly heading in the right direction.

When analysing activity by sector, Technology continues to dominate in terms of vacancy numbers, with activity up 33% compared to June. However, while it accounts for a significant proportion of the capital’s hiring, Technology was far from the best performing sector when measuring month on month change, with other specialisms outperforming it including Consumer Goods & Services (up 58%) and Real Estate & Construction (up 46%.)

The fact that so many other sectors outperformed Technology in this regard has resulted in the share of professional vacancies in the sector dropping to under 30% of all roles posted in London, for the first time since before the outbreak.”

The top six sectors for hiring activity in London are Technology, Banking, Retail, Consumer goods, Professional services (accounting & consulting), Real estate and Construction and Insurance.

So what is happening specifically in the procurement job market?  Here is what we are seeing and hearing from across our network:

Hiring restrictions for permanent staff are still commonplace for major organisations in the UK across many verticals in the private sector.

Anecdotal evidence that we have gathered through speaking to people across the profession tells us that the picture is most positive in technology markets, pharmaceuticals, professional services, healthcare and banking.

New or additional headcount for procurement departments, a key factor that drives demand in strong markets (and salary inflation over recent years) is understandably rare and that in turn impacts on the demand for replacement hiring as there are less moves in the market generally to warrant said replacements.

There is little evidence of redundancies being made in procurement teams so far. The wider UK job market is braced for this in September and October but we expect procurement to be in a stronger position to maintain headcount than other functions.   Procurement leaders certainly hope this will be the case given the pressure they are under to deliver in key areas, particularly driving cost down projects where possible and maintaining business-critical supply lines.

The Interim Market

During lockdown there was a spike in interim contractors coming to the market having had their projects canceled or delayed with organisations moving swiftly to limit non-essential spend.  This has since slowed and there is now evidence of contractors having their assignments extended as cost-saving initiatives become more important, and in many cases gathering pace as organisations adapt to the current climate.

However, there is still significant spare capacity in the interim market as is demonstrated every time we advertise a role, and from the amount of incoming CV’s we have from people seeking new assignments.

With experienced procurement leaders talking about “pressure for cost savings like never before,”  (something we’ve also heard that consultancies and software vendors in areas like spend analytics) the interim market may offer quick, effective solutions to many organisations, particularly with the option to hire for six months or so before IR35 kicks in for the new tax year in 2021.

New Hiring Challenges

For those companies that are recruiting or thinking about their plans for later this year, it’s worth thinking about the questions that are facing hiring managers in this unique set of  market conditions:

How do you make effective hires without meeting candidates face to face?

How do you onboard people if your offices aren’t open or have limited capacity?

Are people reluctant to move jobs for security reasons?

What are employers’ work from home policies and how are they going to change?

We’ve been working with clients to address all these questions so if you want to hear how other companies are managing these challenges we’d be happy to help.

Please contact me via andrew@edburydaley.com

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement & Spend Management

Career Development In A Crisis

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of The Procurement and Spend Management Insider report.

As you’ve read above, the procurement, supply chain and spend management communities are taking this unique opportunity to prove their value in the midst of a truly global crisis. Procurement and supply chain is in a lead role for many companies, acting as the guiding light for organisations with supply chains under immense stress or sourcing new components for essential medical equipment required by health services all over the world.

We should be proud of the contribution and celebrate it when the opportunity comes along, whenever that may be. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see our colleagues in a work or social setting!

We should also appreciate the fact that these unprecedented circumstances are offering some amazing opportunities for personal growth for the people involved.

There are opportunities to do different things that might not happen under normal circumstances in supplier collaboration and innovation. There are new challenges managing supply chain risks and visibility across multiple tiers of the supplier base, particularly for companies that rarely look beyond tier one suppliers.

For leaders, the need to bring your teams together to achieve great feats of teamwork whilst remote working presents real challenges. Employers and stakeholders are relying on you to adapt to these changes with the future of your business on the line.

For many senior management teams, seeing how your suppliers are adapting in these circumstances and understanding what they are capable of when managing their own crisis, fighting for survival, fighting for supply is a real eye opener.

Maybe you urgently need to find a new supplier or get to the front of the queue with existing ones? How are you doing that?

Whether it’s working with your stakeholders, customers or colleagues in new ways, making progress in circumstances where tools that you have traditionally relied on aren’t necessarily available to you, or overcoming problems when everything you have traditionally relied upon goes out of the window, this is all great professional experience.

And what should you do with it? Well one thing you can do is keep a diary of this period. You should document what you are doing, maybe share experiences with current and past colleagues, see what they are doing, what they are learning and what you might have done differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Because at the end of all this, it will be a great time to strengthen your CV because these are all great learning opportunities that are providing experience that will prove invaluable in the future. Experience that could be the key to your next promotion, internal or external job move because you now have knowledge that could prove invaluable when we work out what the new business environment looks like after all this.

And what if you aren’t on the front line, what if your company has furloughed you or doesn’t see the value of what procurement can contribute? Well don’t despair because that means you’ve got more spare time during all this which, if used wisely, could be very beneficial. There are so many valuable resources available to consume that will help you get some professional development.

Andrew Daley made a video about how to prepare yourself for the future of procurement. In it, he gives some guidance on how you can take responsibility for your own personal development, and for those that have more spare time than normal now is the time to embrace his suggestions and his six point plan to protect the future of your career.

You can access the video here.

Coronavirus Response – The Vendor View

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of The Procurement and Spend Management Insider report.

Most organisations have faced challenges they just haven’t seen before in recent weeks. Many have relied on their procurement and supply chain teams to act quickly and decisively to address those challenges, whether it be urgent cost saving activity or managing supply chain risks and stresses they might never have imagined.

The stories that we are about to share demonstrate how companies have been relying on their digital procurement and supply chain solutions partners to deal with some of the challenges they face. They also demonstrate the value of having adopted these solutions in better economic circumstances and perhaps send a message to those that had yet to truly embrace the era of digital transformation.

SAP ARIBA

SAP Ariba was possibly the first solution provider to make a high profile move by opening-up Ariba Discovery by giving free use to customers and suppliers. They advertised this via their website and social media as soon it became clear that Covid19 was developing into a global supply chain crisis.

“We are witnessing unprecedented disruption to global supply chains as the effects of the Coronavirus continue to unfold,” said President of SAP Procurement Solutions Chris Haydon. “By removing barriers we aim to help accelerate connections between buyers and suppliers so they can quickly fulfil immediate supply needs during this time.”

Here’s a real life example of how this is helping out in the current crisis:

In March of 2020, ViaQuest Home Hospice was in short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). In less than a day, SAP partner Premikati got ViaQuest ready to use SAP Ariba Spot Buy via the Premikati Marketplace.

By 4:00 p.m., ViaQuest had placed their first order for safety glasses. By 8:00 p.m. the much-needed glasses were shipped.

In addition to this SAP told us that: “To help buyers proactively analyze the overall risk associated with potential disruptions in their supply chains, SAP Ariba and Qualtrics created Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse. This offer is valid to new Qualtrics accounts for up to three months.”

The Qualtrics solution “combines procurement and experience management expertise from SAP Ariba and Qualtrics to deliver a pre-configured solution to help procurement and supply chain leaders quickly gain visibility into the health of their suppliers”.

SAP recognised that during this time of uncertainty and high stakes, active listening, visibility and collaboration are more critical than ever. To help buyers proactively analyze the overall risk associated with potential disruptions in their supply chains, SAP Ariba and Qualtrics created Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse.

Procurement and supply chain leaders can quickly launch this pre-configured solution, which issues a questionnaire to suppliers and reverts results immediately after suppliers respond. This supplier feedback can be used to help identify:

  • potential supply constraints and jeopardized delivery timelines;
  • areas to optimize business continuity and recovery plans; and ways to collaborate with and assist suppliers to help them meet demand.

As part of the launch of this initiative, Chris Haydon said: “We are trying to do what we can right now to help companies navigate this new world of unprecedented disruption. With Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse, we aim to help buyers gain the visibility they need to understand the operational status of their suppliers in near-realtime so they can better manage risks and disruptions.”

SAP has created a landing page with all available offers designed to help clients manage disruptions caused by Covid-19. As more offers are rolled out, you’ll find them here.

To us, this is just the sort of response that was required from one of the sector’s long standing leaders. We know from speaking to some of our long standing contacts in the SAP Ariba business that they are as busy as ever, working from home, doing all they can to support their customers and strengthening their business relationships in the process.

ROSSLYN DATA TECHNOLOGIES

Rosslyn was very quick to react on behalf of its existing customers, immediately recognising that global supply chains were facing unprecedented challenges and risks.

Their initial communication to customers outlined that “the ever-changing landscape of countries affected and the knock on effect on global supply chains will need to be closely monitored by procurement and supply chain teams.”

To help existing customers with this business critical issue Rosslyn told them: “We have built a Covid-19 Supply Chain Risk dashboard for you. This dashboard will be provided on your RAPid home page as a separate Business Application titled GeoPolitical Risk Dashboard.

“This dashboard will be refreshed on a daily basis to help you with your efforts to stay on top of the changes within your supply chain. We will be providing this information free of charge to all of our valued clients. We will be fine tuning and updating this dashboard as quickly as we can. All updates will be provided free of charge to existing customers.

The dashboards will reflect your current data held within RAPid as of your last data refresh. As with all of your dashboards you can select and view data by category, supplier, country etc.”

One customer commented: “I appreciate that you have created this free for us, great customer service, this will no doubt be very useful as we plan our emergency supply chain process.”

This quick, effective response from Rosslyn has been greatly valued by customers across multiple industry sectors and helped identify many cost saving opportunities to particularly short time frames. We’ve all heard about the power of data for procurement, this is a great example of how companies that have embraced it are benefiting.

Further information about Rosslyn can be found here. www.rosslyndatatech.com

HICX – FOR BAE SYSTEMS, ACCURATE SUPPLIER DATA PROVES ITS WORTH

Here HICX tell us a great story about what they’ve done with one of their key customers:

There are many reasons why a single source of truth for supplier data is essential for large enterprises, and much emphasis is rightly placed on the strategic benefits associated with supplier collaboration, joint innovation, risk and performance management and seamless integration of supplier data across multiple systems. But during times of crisis, such as we’re seeing with Covid-19, an even more fundamental benefit quickly re-surfaces: who are our suppliers, and how do we effectively communicate with them all?

For large organisations with tens of thousands of suppliers, having supplier data spread across multiple systems, with duplicates, gaps and errors makes even answering these apparently simple questions something of a nightmare.

There are three steps which look simple, but without perfect supplier data, will seriously hamper a business as it responds to a crisis.

Firstly, where are our suppliers located? With the timing, magnitude and response to the Covid-19 impact varying so significantly, not just by region but by country, an accurate picture of risk has to be based on precise information about where suppliers are located.

Secondly, once you know where the suppliers are, do you have accurate and up to date contact information in order to be able to communicate with the right people?

And thirdly, even if you have accurate company and contact data, how exactly will the business communicate efficiently and quickly with the supplier community?

A single supplier information management system, designed to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of the supplier relationship, and built on sound supplier data management foundations, will enable very rapid and highly efficient communication to the right contacts at the right supplier unit, and in a way that delivers genuine business intelligence to support the critical decisions Boards need to be taking.

As a long-term customer of the HICX Supplier Management Platform, BAE Systems is already feeling the benefit of having this foundation in place. “We sometimes take it for granted but, without HICX, in a situation like this I don’t know how we would manage to contact 30,000 suppliers and build a picture of supplier readiness to support our continuity planning,” said Jerry Grable, Director, eBusiness at BAE Systems, Inc. “It would take a whole team of people pounding the phones for days or even weeks to do something I’ve been able to do on my own in a matter of hours.”

In response to the crisis, HICX is also providing a free-of-charge add-on module to its Supplier Management Platform that will enable companies like BAE to take the next step in understanding their potential supplier impact. Firstly, by mapping real-time and continuously changing Covid-19 outbreak and response data to a company’s own unique supplier footprint, and secondly by enabling fast and comprehensive surveys of supplier readiness without the need to email and then collate thousands of responses.

HICX estimates that the majority of businesses over $1B in revenue already rely on third parties to generate 50% or more of their total economic value, making it more important than ever that companies treat their supplier relationships as a board-level concern, and that starts with accurate supplier data.

Further information about HICX can be found here.

C2FO – WALMART AND DANONE SUPPORT THEIR SUPPLIERS

On a normal day, C2FO runs 250+ cash flow optimisation programmes for large corporates (including 25 of the 100 largest companies in the world) which spend $trillions with their suppliers every year. Due to the unique way that our platform works, we not only see which suppliers are interested in getting paid early (by the corporates or their banks) but precisely how much each individual supplier wants that capital to thrive or survive. As a result, we’ve seen the strain on supply chains and the increase in suppliers’ need for cash match the inexorable spread of Covid-19 across the globe.

We watched as demand from suppliers in China exploded in the run up to Chinese New Year. As the virus spread, we saw similar supplier behavior in EMEA and The Americas with demand for accelerated payment from SMEs increase more than tenfold.

Fortunately, our customers could map the impact on their suppliers from the near real-time data the technology provides and assess the damage that breaks in their supply chain could have on their business, now and when the health impact of the crisis subsides. As everyone knows, good suppliers are hard to find and harder to replace.

Here are a few of the heartening ways in which customers have helped their suppliers to survive and in other cases, have made it more likely that some of us will survive:

Walmart – dedicated cash flow for the most vulnerable suppliers

Walmart didn’t get to be the largest retailer in the world (> 2.2m employees, turnover > $500bn) by ignoring the needs of their suppliers. Before the crisis could bite chunks out of their supplier chains they concluded that the most efficient and effective way to get liquidity to their SMBs, which make up more than two-thirds of their suppliers, was to create a dedicated section of the C2FO platform for them and automatically focus support at especially low rates of finance exactly where it was most needed. As a result, the uptake has been extraordinary with thousands of suppliers that have never used the platform before signing up in just a few weeks.

Danone – rapid deployment of new technology
As a top 10 global food manufacturer that sells its products in more than 120 countries, Danone has experienced disruption to its operations as well as unprecedented, localised spikes in demand for its products, as customers raced to the shops to prepare for the worst. To help address this, it slashed weeks off the deployment of its supplier early payment technology.

“It is imperative for Danone to support its suppliers in their financing needs. Fortunately, C2FO allows us to make the most of our customer-supplier relationships, by implementing a flexible solution for us and personalised financing for them. The use of a digital solution is an advantage that will strengthen our links with our partners in a secure and efficient environment,” explains Yves Pellegrino, SVP Corporate Finance, Control and Services at Danone. You can read more here.

European top five medical device company – ramping up production of ventilators

While this company has been using C2FO for a couple of years the challenge for their supply chain was somewhat different: how to pay for the prodigious increase in resources required to satisfy the global demand for ventilators. The solution, was at their fingertips, allocated dedicated liquidity to those supplier partners at the tightest pinch points in supply.

RISK METHODS

We are currently supporting procurement and supply chain professionals with a variety of tools and sources of information.

We offer non-customers a special Coronavirus Supply Chain Visibility Kit which we designed just in time for this current crisis and is available until May 31 for special conditions. It gives organisations immediate insights into how their suppliers and supply chains are affected by various factors, for example, lockdowns, transportation barriers such as closing of borders, ports and airports, Force Majeure or bankruptcy.
We are providing a Coronavirus daily update summary by email which helps people understand the impact on their businesses.

It covers:

  • Status Quo
  • Impacts
  • Implications
  • What to expect with regards to global supply chains
  • Recommendations
  • Short and long-term actions

We have also organised a series of helpful webinars with industry experts and customers. Earlier in April we had a webinar entitled How to Protect Your Supply Chain During Times of Crisis with TIm Mishchiara, VP of Global Sourcing at Chamberlain Group. In May we have one with Forrester entitled Beyond Coronavirus: Finding the Right Balance for the Next Normal. All our webinars can be found here.

The riskmethods Solution helps customers to identify risk early, assess the impact and mitigate. This is particularly helpful in the Coronavirus crisis. Here is our customer Swiss Steel talking about how The riskmethods Solution supported them.

SIEVO

Another procurement analytics business that was quick to recognise its ability to support its customers was Sievo. They told us that: “Understanding the supplier base to be able to mitigate risks is crucial and that’s what we can provide to our clients. On top of the standard procurement analytics offering, we developed Corona Response Analytics a few weeks ago and that has been a really popular subject. There have been about 800 registrants in our webinars about that topic.”

They consider building the Corona Response Analytics dashboard to be “our biggest effort in supporting customers during this period. It combines customer spend and supplier data in Sievo with external data sources on the spread of the epidemic (Johns Hopkins University data) and supplier risk (including data from RiskMatters). Customers can also bring in updates from their suppliers, as they work to build an understanding of their spend-at-risk, status of suppliers etc. In crisis times, having a single source of truth for procurement spend is increasingly important.”

Sievo offered these observations from their customer base:

  • Some customers are shifting from a monthly to weekly refresh cycle with their spend data to track their situation more closely. Many customers are already on a weekly cycle, but we’re moving quickly to set it up for those that would like to switch
  • Primary questions for many have been: are a) my suppliers ok / financially stable? and b) what are my alternative suppliers for (single-sourced) categories or components.

So some great examples of how technology vendors are really making a difference at such a difficult time for their customers.

We’ve heard several other stories about vendors really making a difference for their customers, most notably the likes of Jaggaer and Proactis supporting the sterling work being done by their public sector clients in areas of critical, high demand like PPE.

What’s clear to us is that procurement and supply chain professionals are really reaping the reward for having invested in these solutions and training their people to use them. It’s giving people great career opportunities (more of that later in the report) and reinforcing the case for the digital transformation of the procurement and supply chain.

Many people believe this could be a catalyst for accelerated digital transformation in several industry verticals. We’ll be observing that closely over the coming months. Further information about Sievo can be found here. sievo.com

You can download the full version of our Insider report here.

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?

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.