Hiring in Procurement & Supply Chain – Looking to the Future

29/07/2020By Christian Shawcross
Organisations need a robust procurement function. Not just to save money, but to provide a commercial function that enables organisations to achieve growth and profitability. In short, procurement can help businesses to find a way through. 
Hiring in procurement

 These are strange times.  

Much has been written and debated about the Covid crisis that has affected us all. “The new normal” will be up there as one of 2020’s most used statements and is a constant topic of conversation. And while no-one can truly predict what the longterm effects will be, they will likely be long lasting. However, forward thinking and a positive mind-set will help businesses get back to some sort of normality – and prosperity will no doubt ensue. 

Here, Christian ShawcrossGlobal Head of psd’s Procurement & Supply Chain Practice, shares his observations on current hiring and market activity within the procurement profession.

Banking and Financial Services 

It has been a steady period with latent demand that is now turning into offers and acceptances. Digital transformation is a core element of the assignments undertaken. Another core theme has been cloud and premises shifts regarding Icategory management. Procurement managers are being asked to think strategically about the category management process and long-term relationship management, rather than concentrating solely on transactions. 

We have worked recently with a fintech organisation to recruit a Head of Legal and Procurement and with a global bank to source a Head of IT Vendor Management. More work is ongoing in front office category management, supporting a European Bank. I am pleased to report that demand is increasing with senior positions being released on a weekly basis. 


Despite the pandemic, the consulting sector has been surprisingly buoyant. There has been demand in our core areas of procurement transformation, P2P implementation and procurement outsourcing. Theffect of technology, innovation, and the changing dynamics of global trade are influencing every aspect of procurement – especially purchase to pay. Advocating and implementing a centralised procurement department is also a common theme from consultancies. In order to future-proof their organisations, consultancies should look for ways to prepare their clients for the next steps in Procurement and Finance. Sustainability issues are also high on the agenda. Procurement has shown where sustainability models can be good for business as well as the environment. 

Our work in 2020 includes placing a Senior Manager with a leading Procurement Strategy Firm, a Coupa Practice Lead and a Senior Ariba Procurement Manager. We also have several ongoing assignments in the UK and Europe. 


An interesting assignment was presented to us from a global automotive manufacturer in Paris, which was looking for a Head of Procurement to centralise purchasing across the member countries. It was a great assignment to work on and the client was delighted with the result as was the successful candidate. I am sure there will be more projects to come in this sector.  

Affordable and Social Housing 

There is a continued emphasis to bring more sustainable work practices into the social housing sector. Organisations are focusing on attracting private sector talent from bigger firms to help lead transformation projects in supplier Relationship and Category Management. Businesses are still demanding an understanding of OJEU and PCR legislation. Candidates can be limited in supply and those with this experience are sought after. We are encouraging clients and candidates on how they may transfer their skills from regulated sectors such as energy and utilities pharmaceuticalsIt is an interesting and evolving sector. 

Affordable housing is key area for psd with several consultants serving the sector. The Procurement practice has managed a number of assignments, most notably for a Procurement Director in a new organisation focusing on sustainability, a Head of Category Management for an ambitious London based social housing organisation and several Procurement and Sourcing Specialist positions within Technology, Facilities and Professional Services. 


There has been a continued demand for both interim and permanent procurement professionals across utilities and oil and gas markets within the UK. psd has a number of ongoing assignments working closely with a range of energy businesses.  We recently completed two urgent permanent assignments for Procurement Managers for a utilities support business. Although Covid-19 delayed the start date, we are pleased to say they are in position now. An assignment focusing on Capex investment with a major utilities business is also underway.  

Facilities Management

It has been a challenging time for the Facilities Management sector, however we are pleased to see there is continued demand for our expertise. We have placed a senior procurement leader into an organisation that we have supported previously to drive collaboration across internal divisions. 

One of our more interesting assignments was a search for a FM Sourcing Director for a pharmaceutical business. This was a successful although challenging search as the candidate required a clinical research background in addition to senior leadership experience on an international level within the pharmaceuticals sector. FM is a well-served sector by psd and we continue to support the sector in the UK and Europe. 

Find out more

If you would like to know more about current market and hiring conditions with the Procurement & Supply Chain sector, or have any questions or comments about this review, please do feel free to reach out to me.  

We have 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

executive recruiter manchester

Christian Shawcross

Director – Procurement & Supply Chain

Christian leads psd‘s Procurement & Supply Chain practice, leading searches for senior executives in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors in the UK and globally.