Procurement & Supply Chain Review – Q3 2018

05/11/2018By Christian Shawcross
The Procurement and Supply Chain profession continues to evolve with the application of new technology and increased investment in IT Category expertise.
Procurement & supply chain recruitment consultancy, psd group

Central Government

psd’s Procurement & Supply Chain team were delighted to have been awarded a retained assignment to recruit two senior-level Procurement Specialists to manage the strategic direction of a high profile government department. The organisation is looking to bring more private sector expertise into the Procurement team and also to develop the IT Security area. This is a direction we have seen more of in 2018, as the average Procurement team will handle complex data sets. Advances in technology have allowed the traditional procurement process to improve in efficiency, which has been made easier with technology platforms becoming more adaptable and built specifically for the procurement profession.

At this level, the best way of sourcing Procurement & Supply Chain professionals for challenging assignments where a specific profile is required is a retained assignment, where a great deal of time is spent in getting to know the client and brief, and extensive mapping of the market is carried out to include professionals that aren’t actively looking. This allows us to present the best possible individual who may not be found via the traditional recruitment routes. We are looking forward to partnering with other government functions going forward.

Property & Construction

During the third quarter of the year we saw a steady demand across a broad range of procurement roles, despite continued austerity particularly from government budgets. Core funding from central government is still at its lowest level for many years and there is a prediction of a £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. There are predictions of a new wave of consolidation in response to the challenges faced by the industry, including the scale required to deliver national infrastructure projects. The private sector is still buoyant despite some of the economic challenges faced by Brexit uncertainty. It still remains the most important decision facing this sector.

The sector has been noted for a lack of innovation in some regard, but we have seen that many construction firms are embracing the developments in procurement technology to better equip their staff.

Internal stakeholders are reaping the benefits and this is shaping the types of vacancies that we are working on. We have worked on several assignments during this period, the most interesting being a Head of Procurement role with an offshore private developer.

In the FM & Support Services sector, there has been a strong and continued demand with more assignments for Senior Heads of Procurement and Senior Buyers in the hard and soft FM areas.  This remains a core area of expertise for us, not just in Procurement, but across the other disciplines including Finance and IT. Whilst there has been uncertainty and increased competition in this area, it is still a well-rewarded and popular sector for candidates to explore.

banking district

Banking & Financial Services

It has been another busy quarter in the Banking and Financial Services sector. Having recently engaged with a global bank headquartered in London, we placed a Legal Category Manager on an interim basis for a maternity cover role.  The role entails working closely with stakeholders to gradually move the bank from relying on services paid on an hourly rate basis, to a fixed fee structure.  This vacancy called for someone with excellent market knowledge of the financial services and legal category.  We also assisted the bank in recruiting a Global Enterprise Software Category Manager.

With an upcoming major CRM licence renewal programme, we worked with a large global investment bank to recruit a specialist Software Sourcing Manager on an interim basis.  This role involved establishing the organisation’s requirements in order to make adaptations to their current estate.  We have also assisted in a number of vendor management hires for this investment bank as they grow the team in the post-contract award area, particularly with technology contracts.

IT continues to be the area where there is the most demand in the Banking and Financial Services sectors.

A medium sized financial services client approached psd to recruit a broad IT category management role to complete their team in Edinburgh. This organisation has invested heavily in the IT category team to meet with the growing demand due to expansion.

psd is well established in the IT area and we pride ourselves on our ability to find individuals for the most challenging of assignments.


The Procurement & Supply Chain team experienced a steady demand in this area, working on a number of assignments, particularly on an interim basis. There have been a number of requests for IT Category Managers specifically in the hosting and cloud areas. Due to the sheer volume of data that is processed by healthcare organisations, we have observed that RPA and AI technologies are being integrated into category plans. The sector is evolving quickly and the number of ways that organisations interact with their customers is impacting highly on what is expected from the procurement function.

Energy & Utilities

During the third quarter of 2018 we have filled roles in the IT, professional services and property categories, and has worked on a number of international upstream roles, particularly in the contracts area.

It is an area that our Procurement & Supply Chain practice has a great deal of expertise, with one of the most experienced oil and gas executive recruiters in the UK.  There continues to be a focus on interim assignments, with a steady demand for Category Specialists and Category Leaders across almost all areas of spend.  Companies are continuing to adopt a more strategic approach so the focus has been on Category Specialists who can see the bigger picture when addressing third party spend.

psd recently partnered with a global organisation with a growing home technology arm, to search for a Demand Planning Manager on an interim basis. The client required someone who had prior experience of entering new territories. The individual placed is now instrumental in assisting the organisation in entering new markets in Europe and North America.



psd’s Sport practice works with an enviable list of high-profile clients.  Our Procurement & Supply Chain practice has experienced more demand from this sector, on the back of successful placements with a number of world-leading football clubs and major sporting bodies. One such assignment was to assist a prestigious championship football club in Yorkshire in finding a Procurement Manager for a greenfield function. The organisation is optimistic about the future and is looking to take their supporting functions to the next level.


There has been increased demand from consulting organisations. Due to our expertise and background in supporting mid-sized and large organisations, we have developed a comprehensive understanding of the sector and can give expert guidance to clients and candidates.  We are currently working with a niche provider that is developing its RPA and AI capability.  Even though this is a relatively new area, we have provided some very experienced candidates.  psd has also partnered with a client in Switzerland who is seeking to expand their IT Sourcing capability.

During this quarter, we have assisted a P2P advisory firm looking to recruit a Practice Lead in the Supply Chain area. This organisation is expanding at a rapid rate, and as is typical, it is the smaller firms that are giving the major organisations a run for their money.


Our team of highly experienced executive recruitment consultants have an exceptional knowledge of the Procurement & Supply Chain market and a strong network of candidates, with a track record of achievement in this and allied sectors.  We recruit across the whole of the UK and internationally on both permanent and interim roles.

We would be happy to meet at your convenience to discuss your recruitment requirements and are happy to offer our knowledge on salary expectations, general market intelligence, and any other recruitment queries.

About the author

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.