Procurement & Supply Chain Review – Q1 2018

10/04/2018By Christian Shawcross
Our Procurement & Supply Chain team look at what the profession has experienced in the first quarter, and their views on the recruitment landscape going forward for 2018.
supply chain logistics

psd‘s Procurement & Supply Chain team enjoyed a great deal of success in the first quarter of 2018, working with existing clients and a number of new organisations to help source the best executives the market has to offer. So far, 2018 has been a story of contrasts. Overall, it was a cautious market at the turn of the year, with a gradual but steady increase in recruitment activity in February and March.

Banking & Financial Services

The Banking & Financial Services sector continues to be strong with a number of assignments, predominantly within investment banking and asset management.  The major demand has been Technology Sourcing, where there has always been a steady flow of placements. psd has recently been engaged in recruiting both a Head of Technology Sourcing and a Director of ADM Sourcing with two well-known banks. Technology Sourcing is a speciality for psd and our expertise continues to grow in all aspects of IT commercial management.

On the interim side, assignments for project related hires have been in high demand this quarter. We facilitated the placement of an interim procurement manager into a growing credit firm who was qualified and immediately available, whilst we searched for a permanent solution.  There has been a gradual move to cloud based systems, and clients are increasingly requesting this experience as a requirement in job specifications.


psd has been working with a healthcare provider in recruiting their Procurement Team, placing a Senior Analytics Manager to work alongside the Head of Procurement, whom we placed at the end of 2017. We are seeing more organisations looking for skills in this area as they become increasingly data driven to help realise benefits for stakeholders.  We look forward to seeing how the new team prospers.


psd is undertaking an assignment for a Head of Purchasing role with a manufacturing organisation, to replace a long standing member of the team. This has been an especially refreshing position to work on as there was a focus on supply chain skills. A number of interesting candidates have come into the mix and we are looking forward to seeing the results. We have enjoyed working on this position and we look forward to more assignments to come in this area.

Property & Construction

The first quarter has been a busy time in the Construction industry particularly within House building and Affordable Housing, where providers are continuing to increase their portfolio and regional presence.  Recent appointments have included Category Managers with repairs, maintenance and FM experience.  At a more senior level, the focus has been on Distribution, Logistics and Demand Planning. There has been a rise in requests for Global Supply Chain positions and we are currently working with a leading house builder for a Supply Chain and Logistics Director at Group level.  We are seeing a high level of urgency from clients in making decisions on senior roles, which is a welcome change to the last Quarter of 2017.

We have had interim procurement roles this quarter within the Property Services sector which were the result of company mergers, creating a need for the organisations to align their processes and procedures to get the best value from their markets.  In the face of changing conditions and the increasing globalisation of products and services, we see this as a continuing trend.

Energy & Utilities

The interim market in Energy & Utilities continues to be consistently strong, especially within indirect spend across Professional Services and HR with average day rates for Category Managers from £450 – £550. Technology is the only exception where rates have increased up to £700 per day.  On the permanent side this market has slowed down since the last quarter of 2017 but there are promising signs for the future.


Consulting continues to be a busy area for psd with placements in Sourcing Advisory in the BPO area, which is in high demand from organisations.  We also recruited into Robotics Process Automation (RPA) within a niche consulting firm that is challenging the larger firms with success due to the autonomy that they offer their consultants. We anticipate a number of assignments in the Procurement Transformation area within the parent organisation that offers a broader range of advisory services.

About the author

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.