Procurement & Supply Chain – Market and Hiring Trends June 2024

Welcome to psd’s review of the Procurement and Supply Chain sector. Here you will find our periodic review of the trends we are seeing and the placements we have made to give you an overview of the recruitment market.

The market continues to be very buoyant with demand across all our key sectors. Companies are increasingly recognising the versatility of a robust procurement function to deliver a broad range of commercial objectives. 

There are significant shifts driven by advancements in technology, changing market dynamics, and evolving regulatory and environmental considerations. Technologies such as AI, IoT, blockchain, and cloud computing are revolutionising procurement and supply chain processes. Automation, predictive analytics, and digital twins enable improved decision-making and efficiency. Organisations are continuing to prioritise sustainability by reducing carbon footprints, adopting circular supply chains, and ensuring ethical sourcing practices. ESG reporting and compliance are becoming more crucial. 

Companies are investing in strategies to enhance supply chain resilience, including diversifying suppliers, building safety stock, and increasing transparency throughout the chain. Due to geopolitical tensions and supply chain vulnerabilities, many companies are shifting toward nearshoring and regionalisation to reduce risks and improve control. Agile methodologies are being adopted to enable quick decision-making and adaptability in response to market changes and disruptions. Advanced analytics tools are being used to optimise procurement and supply chain strategies, forecast demand, and identify potential risks. 

Overall, the future of procurement and supply chain management is marked by technological innovation, a strong focus on sustainability, and the need for resilience and adaptability. Because procurement is embracing technological change, it is remaining an attractive career proposition for graduates. 


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Banking and Financial Services

Consulting and Outsourcing

Energy and Utilities

Construction and Infrastructure

Facilities Management and Real Estate

Banking and Financial Services 

Recently, we worked on several assignments with large and medium sized businesses across a wide range of categories. As usual, most of the demand has been for Heads of Procurement and Senior Category Managers in the professional services categories. Professional services has been the most sought after expertise for 2022 for us, surpassing demand for IT and technology category skills.  

We recruited a Procurement Director for a mid-sized bank that we have supported in other areas, including recruiting the COO. They realised the need to address their third party spend and we identified a highly experienced Head of Procurement to begin the process. We worked with a Wealth Management firm to locate a Head of Indirect Spend in the non-IT area, mainly covering professional services. This was a tricky assignment as they needed someone to start at short notice to manage a time critical project. They selected a candidate from a shortlist of four and they are already making a big impact, as expected. 

We also helped a global investment firm to recruit a Professional Services Lead to manage several areas of critical spend. This was via an outsourced business which made the assignment quite interesting as there were several decisions makers for the candidates to get past. They have started and have already shown their prowess in simplifying the sourcing process for stakeholders. 

Consulting and outsourcing 

Again, this has easily been psd’s busiest sector in the period with numerous hires for new and existing clients. Demand is high and it shows the health of the consulting and outsourcing market currently. Recently, we recruited a Practice Lead for The Procurement Transformation Practice with a global advisory firm. They bring many years of consulting experience from both a business development and delivery perspective. For the same client, we also recruited a Manager for the Sourcing Advisory Practice, focusing on ITO projects. The client stepped out of the industry with the brief as they wanted fresh thinking from the candidates. We delivered a strong shortlist and the candidate is enjoying their start. 

We have also been working with a global outsourcing business to recruit a number of candidates in the UK, Bulgaria and Switzerland. So far, we have recruited candidates in the professional services and outsourcing categories to help the firm cope with demand.  

Energy and Utilities 

The energy and utilities sectors provide significant opportunities for future procurement and supply chain leaders. Expertise within complex construction projects, technical direct sourcing and contract management are highly sort after, with many experts transitioning from the oil and gas sector into renewables and utilities. 

Global demand within the renewables sector continues to grow, and we expect the demand for procurement talent in the UK to grow as further projects aimed to develop the UK’s energy resilience continue. 

We have supported one of our long-standing oil and gas clients to recruit an interim contracts leader within the upstream arm of their exploration business. This was an interesting search requiring specific in-depth category knowledge and immediate availability as they ramp-up their production activities. 

We have also been engaged to provide support to a leading utility provider as they restructure their procurement department. We have leveraged our expertise and networks within this space to advise on role specifications and the local talent market, then provided in-depth individual salary benchmarks to enable a competitive proactive recruitment campaign. 

Finally, we sourced short-term interim support for another utility business as we continue to work with them to attract their new Head of Procurement following retirement. 

Construction and Infrastructure 

The construction industry is still suffering from significant cost increases across the material supply chain. We have seen an increase in the number of Supplier Relationship roles within this sector, as procurement functions work hard to develop long-lasting partnerships with their suppliers and combat short-term market volatility.  

One interesting observation is the willingness to consider a wider range of backgrounds to attract quality SRM professionals. We have seen people move into these roles from a variety of areas including sales and account management, traditional procurement, and operational roles. 

The social housing sector continues to be a key area for our team. As ever, demand for new affordable housing significantly outweighs supply. We have observed an increased emphasis on attracting residential sector professionals into the development arms of the larger social housing providers, focusing on controlling costs associated with new build construction and refurbishments. 

We have supported a large Northwest housing association to identify and secure their new Group Head of Procurement. We have also recently begun the search for a senior procurement leader to join a specialist fit-out contractor, in a move to establish a brand-new greenfield function. 

Facilities Management and Real Estate 

We have seen a marked resurgence of roles within the facilities sector throughout the second quarter of the year as confidence within the sector continues to grow.  

Utilities procurement has become a major focus area for service providers within the sector. Market volatility has propelled this category to the forefront as it develops into a significant (and complex!) cost area.  

We have supported a global asset management business to recruit a brand-new team to lead FM and Utilities procurement for their UK investor clients. This has been a particularly intriguing assignment as we have delved deep into the energy and commodities procurement space. 

We have also helped one of the worlds largest facilities services companies to recruit Procurement Managers for their teams in London, the Northwest, Scotland, and the Midlands.  


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.