Procurement: Taking stock of the labour market

March 16th, 2021
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Procurement was at the heart of the chaos during the health crisis. At the start of a new year and with the situation beginning to stabilise, it's time to take stock of the labour market in the industry. Will companies recruit? Which jobs are feeling the pressure? Are salaries going up? These are all questions that PageGroup's latest survey endeavours to answer, in light of the uncertain situation.

A clouded labour market

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on recruitment projects around the world. Many companies have chosen to freeze or suspend hiring while gaining greater visibility into economic conditions.

In the previous year, only 50% of companies that planned to hire maintained their recruitment objectives. 2021 is set to be a year of reconstruction but also of uncertainty. Some sectors are doing well and are planning to increase their workforce, such as health care, distribution, business services etc. However, it is still too early to talk about global recovery or to confirm a clear shift.

What are the trends for procurement? 

It appears that 17% of companies plan to recruit in procurement and supply chain.  To make a difference in the labour market, now is the time to promote resilience and adaptability. In procurement, employers are looking particularly for people with good emotional intelligence and the ability to solve complex problems.

It's also important to know that certain profiles are highly sought-after (IT & telecoms, transport/logistics buyers for example) while other positions have low demand from industry (project buyer and supplier quality engineer/buyer). It's up to you to steer your research according to both your skills and the needs of the market.

Buyers' salaries are on the rise! 

For a vast majority of procurement roles, salaries are up on the previous year. This relates to both gross annual pay and variable pay.

If you look more closely, there is a strong increase for Capex (capital expenditure) buyers, intellectual service buyers, service/facility management buyers and non-production/indirect buyers. In these four occupations, annual salary has increased by €10,000 for employees who have held their jobs for between 5 and 15 years. This allows them to earn gross annual pay of up to €75K or even €85K, not to mention the variable pay that's also increasing.

By contrast, the salary for some occupations is stagnating. These are mainly the supplier quality engineer/buyer, supplier database manager and the public buyer.

But don't forget that this data is of course weighted according to the industry sector, the size or even the location of the company.

Despite these difficulties, procurement is heading for exciting times! Strategic now more than ever, procurement departments must prepare to handle the sizeable yet stimulating challenges based around Corporate Social Responsibility. On the agenda: sustainable procurement, relocation and circular economy… the topics that put meaning and value back into corporate procurement.