2020 Procurement and Supply Chain Recruitment Outlook

11/02/2020By Christian Shawcross
December bought an election result, and at least for the moment, there is a little respite from the Brexit confusion. Procurement and Supply Chain recruitment is picking up again, whilst the profession continues to develop and add value.
Procurement & supply chain hiring trends

Political and economic uncertainty meant 2019 was a difficult year for many, however psd’s Procurement & Supply Chain recruitment function saw sustained activity. Looking ahead to 2020, the demand for strategic searches looks strong.

Procurement Recruitment in Affordable Housing

2019 saw an increase in recruiting procurement professionals across the Social Housing sector and we expect this trend to continue throughout 2020.  Procurement within this sector has been dominated recently by four themes; political uncertainty, post-Grenfell safety concerns, modern methods of construction, and mergers & acquisitions. External factors continue to effect the industry, and the urgency for procurement functions to become more commercially driven and cost effective increases. The specialist expertise of a procurement professional in this area has expanded to managing stakeholders with competing priorities and ultimately to act as internal sponsors to implementing efficient and compliant procurement processes.

As property portfolios become more geographically dispersed, a thorough understanding of contract and supplier management principles is important in mitigating risk in areas such as outsourced maintenance and routine asset management. Government funding cuts, combined with inflated expenditure within the repairs and maintenance categories have further exacerbated development cost concerns. More providers have turned to modular construction to reduce cost, development time and improve quality assurance. This has added a new area of expertise to procurement professionals, with new frameworks, contracts, suppliers and supply chains to be developed.

A number of mergers and acquisitions within the sector have led to procurement transformation, function growth and centralisation projects. psd has assisted numerous organisations in this area throughout the past 12 months, and we are currently undertaking a significant transformation recruitment project for a leading G15 association.

Smaller organisations are beginning to implement official procurement policies and procedures, with a significant number of finance and commercial functions turning to greenfield procurement development professionals to bring in cost management and risk mitigation strategies across their spend portfolio.

Banking & Financial Services

Procurement & Supply Chain recruitment activity remains high in the Banking & Financial Services sector. A significant number of search assignments were carried out which focused on technology categories and in particular enterprise software. psd recently assisted two global banks to recruit category managers and a head of category to focus on cloud and SAAS contracts.  These are important roles within the Group as the main stakeholder is the Group CIO.

Other areas of demand have been; vendor management and supply chain risk executives at Head of level with UK financial services firms and Professional Services sourcing management within consumer finance businesses.

This sector remains steady and whilst some procurement departments are reducing in size, the projects are still there and an experienced team is required to handle them.

Energy & Utilities

Energy & Utilities continues to grow as a key area for psd, with a range of international clients within the water, renewables, oil & gas and electricity sectors.  Following a change in company ownership within a leading utilities organisation, psd worked with the new board of directors to establish a recruitment roadmap that will enable them to implement their new procurement strategy across the next AMP period.

There has also been a steady stream of interim recruitment projects, predominantly within the oil & gas market. The majority of these projects have been aligned to the growing requirement for organisations to harness software and technologies to create data and other forms of business intelligence that allow for better informed procurement decisions. This has been a growing area of expertise for psd, with roles across all sectors now emphasising the importance of analytic capability and data driven decisions.

Consulting and Professional Services

Consulting and Professional Services was psd’s busiest area in 2019 and offered some challenging and rewarding search assignments. Individual projects given to consulting firms can last anywhere from 6 – 18 months. The assignments range from individual category management projects to large scale procurement transformation, and we anticipate growth in recruitment in this sector in 2020.

We have been working with a mid-sized North West based firm to source a range of consultants including a senior director to lead the business for the future. We also worked with a global consulting firm to help identify an Ariba Implementation Lead to help develop the practice and to cope with the strong pipeline of work. Consultancy is a key area for psd not just in procurement and we anticipate strong growth in this area in 2020.

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure

psd’s Procurement & Supply Chain recruitment expertise has expanded significantly within the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure sectors.  Building on this expertise, we have supported a fast-growing multinational restaurant organisation in a search for a Construction Category Manager, to oversee new store opening costs across EMEA.

Working closely with our Property & Construction Practice we uncovered a number of exceptionally talented individuals. Requirements for the successful candidate were stringent. We delivered a targeted shortlist of five internationally mobile individuals and successfully appointed within one month of beginning the assignment.  We are eager to continue to build on our services within this fast-moving area and have quickly built an enviable network of senior global professionals.

Facilities Management

Outsourced facilities management organisations continue to grow in size, complexity and breadth of service offerings. As total facilities management becomes increasingly popular, procurement functions have adapted to provide a range of self-delivered and subcontracted solutions.

A recurring theme is the popularity of advisory functions within the Real Estate and Facilities Management sector, providing opportunities for organisations to add value to those who both outsource their requirements and manage all hard and soft facilities in-house. These advisory disciplines often work in conjunction with the wider business solutions functions, specialising in cost management, supply chain, logistics and operating model optimisation.

psd have been involved in a range of projects that continue to highlight the competitive talent market for Facilities Management procurement professionals. Experts from within Pharmaceuticals, Utilities, Consultancy and Defence are particularly sought after, with their ability to manage global multi-faceted supply chains whilst delivering facilities solutions at minimal cost.

The debate between centralised procurement and separate functional disciplines continues to be a major discussion point. We are working with organisations that see impressive results using both strategies and we are well placed to offer advice, market intelligence and consultancy in this area.  If you feel we can help in any way, please do reach out to our Procurement & Supply Chain team.  We wish you continued success for 2020.

psd has been recruiting Procurement, Sourcing & Supply Chain professionals across the UK and Europe, Middle East and Asia for over 25 years. Our services include Executive Search, Contingency Recruitment, Selection & Assessment, Interim & Contract and Research, Mapping & Benchmarking.

About the author

Christian is Director of psd‘s Procurement & Supply Chain Recruitment Practice, leading searches for senior executives in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors in the UK and globally.