Procurement & Supply Chain – Market and Hiring Trends April 2023

Welcome to our second newsletter for 2023 highlighting Procurement and Supply Chain hiring trends in Quarter One of 2023.

Q1 began where Q4 left off in 2022: more demand from our clients and a record number of placements across all our key sectors. There is no doubt that Procurement is changing with many CPOs and influencers redefining what Procurement is and should be. This is transforming the skills required and where to look to get the skills needed. This is extending the candidate pool with an emphasis on candidates with more technology skills as well as influencing and relationship management flair.

We have seen an increased adoption of digital technologies in procurement and supply chain management, such as automation tools, blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence. There has been more emphasis on sustainability, circular economy and social responsibility in procurement and supply chain, driven by consumer and stakeholder pressure. Strategic sourcing and supplier management is evolving with a focus on risk mitigation, supplier diversity and collaboration.

2023 continues to have a positive feel and we are looking forward to supporting our clients and candidates. 


Jump to:

Banking and Financial Services

Consulting and Outsourcing

Energy and Utilities

Construction and Infrastructure

Facilities Management and Real Estate

Banking and Financial Services

It was another busy period in one of our most successful areas with demand for Procurement Directors and Sourcing Category Specialists in Professional Services, Procurement Technology and Software. We have seen a greater use of data analytics and market intelligence to inform procurement decisions and gain competitive advantage. There has been an emphasis on talent development and reskilling, with a focus on developing new mindsets and capabilities to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. 

During QI we placed a Head of Global Professional Services with an Asian Bank, an interim Technology Sourcing manager with a global insurance business and a Procurement director for a Fintech organisation. There were placements with an investment Bank where we have several contractors operating and they are now looking to add several permanent hires into the business, predominantly in the technology and professional services area. Demand is continuing in the sector, and we see this continuing well into 2023. 

Consulting and Outsourcing

It was also a busy period in the outsourcing and consulting sectors and it is where we have had the most demand and placements in 2023. Consulting firms are enabling collaborative procurement and supply chain partnerships with organisations working together to achieve shared goals and create value. They are advocating the increased use of agile procurement and supply chain practices, with organisations adopting flexible and adaptive approaches to respond quickly to market changes and customer needs. 

During Q1 we placed a Director of Coupa Consulting with a global advisory firm and a Senior Manager in support. This is primarily to work with a global pharmaceutical firm. We have made placements with a big 4 firm that is expanding their Procurement Transformation Practice and they have been looking for candidates with broad sourcing experience, working on end-to-end procurement restructuring. We continued to support a global outsourcing business that we worked with in 2022 and have identified three individuals to lead their account with major banking organisations. Demand is high in these areas and we see growth continuing into 2023. 

Energy and Utilities

It has been a busy period in the sector. With an increased focus on climate change and sustainability, the energy and utilities sector is adopting sustainable procurement practices, such as reducing the use of non-renewable resources, reducing waste and minimising the carbon footprint of the supply chain. Energy and utilities companies are engaging in more strategic supplier management approaches to manage risks and ensure that they have a reliable and sustainable supply chain. They are working closely with key suppliers and building partnerships to ensure continuity and consistency in the supply chain. 

More Energy and Utilities companies are investing in digital procurement solutions such as e-procurement, e-invoicing and contract management systems. This is to streamline procurement processes, improve visibility and reduce transaction costs. Companies are increasingly collaborating with other players in the industry to achieve greater economies of scale, reduce costs and increase efficiency. This may involve sharing procurement expertise, pooling resources or joint procurement ventures. 

We successfully recruited the Head of Procurement Strategy for a Major UK Oil and Gas Exploration Firm. This has been a challenging assignment. It is the first time an individual has been recruited into this position.  Despite the challenges previously faced, we quickly demonstrated that we have the connections and the experience to fill these difficult positions. The role was offered and accepted within three weeks of being instructed.  

We successfully identified the Procurement Director for a blue-chip integrated energy solutions provider, and supported a global facilities management business by recruiting three Senior Sourcing Managers for the team. We are also currently working with a major telecommunications firm by recruiting within their procurement and commercial team. They are investing heavily in secure, sustainable digital infrastructure. 

Construction and Infrastructure

There has been continued confidence in the sector. Many construction firms’ contractors are adopting digital procurement solutions such as e-procurement, e- invoicing  and contract management systems, in order to simplify procurement workflows, improve purchasing visibility, reduce transaction costs and facilitate better supplier management. Firms are adopting sustainable procurement practices to ensure that their products and materials are sourced ethically and sustainably. This includes sourcing products with a low carbon footprint and using eco-friendly design materials and construction techniques.

There is more emphasis on collaboration and firms are increasingly partnering with suppliers, contractors, consultants on housing associations, in order to create shared value and drive innovation through collaboration. This approach can lead to cost savings and improved efficiencies across the entire supply chain. We have seen an increased demand for supply chain transparency within the construction. Housing developers and contractors are expected to have visibility over the entire supply chain, particularly with regard to labour practices, risk management and environmental sustainability.

In Q1 we worked on a Head of Procurement for a mid-sized affordable housing organisation and a Head of Supplier Management for a large contractor based in the Midlands that is looking to enhance the coverage of the existing supplier function.  

Facilities Management and Real Estate

As usual, we have managed several assignments with a range of FM providers. Facilities management companies are using more strategic supplier management approaches to manage supplier relationships, negotiate favourable terms and conditions, manage risks and ensure continuity of supply. Companies are strengthening their contract management skills to ensure that they fully understand the terms and conditions of contracts they engage in manage supplier performance effectively and mitigate contract related risks.

As with other sectors, firms are increasingly embracing digital procurement solutions and enabling technology in the procurement function. Risk management within the facilities management sector is essential and this has been evident in the assignments we have worked on.  

PSD has been involved in a broad variety of projects across this sector where we have also sourced talent from across the technology, consulting, manufacturing, and construction industries. We anticipate the needs of procurement functions within this space growing alongside the variety of services being offered. 

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.  


executive recruiter manchester

Christian Shawcross

Director – Procurement & Supply Chain

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