Changing Times and the Procurement Profession – Where Will That Leave You, Your Employer, Your Career?

Global procurement technology recruitment specialists, Edbury Daley, have just released their full 2018 market report looking at trends and conditions in the procurement and spend management employment market across Europe. It examines how political, economic and technological changes are affecting the market, demand for your skills and the future of the profession, and compares findings with predictions from last year.

Overall the good news is that this year’s analysis anticipates stronger market conditions than last year and increased demand for certain key skillsets. This is based on the fundamental issue of a rapidly growing procurement technology market, and a talent pool that currently can’t support it, leading to shortages in key areas. The result is of course rising salaries (and this is especially notable for experienced Sales Directors. By the way, Edbury Daley can provide bespoke salary research for the sector which is worth pursuing for budget holders needing guidance on pay reviews and so on, especially at this time of year.)

The skillsets and experience that are expected to be in greatest demand are in implementation, driven by solution providers and consultancies that support the implementation and associated transformation projects. Also very much sought after will be mid-level salespeople, and people strong in the areas of account management and customer success.

A whole section is dedicated to the interim market, which is always reactive to market conditions. Increasing economic uncertainty has led some companies to manage costs down and delay major expenditure, rather focusing on short-term gains. While organisations are looking instead at maximising the relationship with existing suppliers and improving the cost and the value of their major categories of spend, an upturn has been seen in the requirement for SRM and category management interims in particular. This section will tell you more about the interim market and patterns in demand for temporary staff, especially in demand for identifying risk in the supply chain, ahead of whatever the Brexit deal will be, and to find out more about the effects on the market of an IR35 extension.

In terms of mergers and acquisitions, it finds that the procurement technology market has been a little quieter than reported in the previous update. Notable sales in recent months have been the acquisitions of spend management giant Coupa, with DCR Workforce and Aquirre adding to its strengths, and Proactis continuing its growth acquiring eSize. In terms of senior management movements, notable is SAP Ariba losing its GM and Heads of Northern and Southern Europe; it continues to hire extensively across Europe. Amabel Grant, formerly of Procserve, Basware and most recently the CCS, has joined Bloom Procurement Services as CTO giving a significant boost to the public sector firm (we ran an interview series here about that). Proactis lost its Marketing Director to a role outside the sector. And Ivalua in Europe has been busy expanding and recruiting. And there’s some very recent news concerning Deloitte too!

Brexit is clearly a big subject in the report, breeding uncertainty at the top levels of British business. Deloitte reports that just 12% of CFOs interviewed think now is a good time to take risks and 44% expect their own capital spending to be lower over the next three years. Those CFOs interviewed have warned that hiring will slow over the next three years. But Edbury Daley is also in tune with the opportunities that could arise for procurement and the supply chain, and they plan to discuss that in their next report when the relationship with the EU will be clearer.

The final section is a hefty one, examining the future of procurement, in terms of skills, development, recruitment and retention. Edbury Daley has attended many recent procurement technology events and spoken to senior procurement leaders to understand where their organisations sit in terms of adopting the solutions available, and what that means for the development and hiring of procurement skillsets for AI, spend analytics and upstream and downstream procurement solutions. An interesting section and well worth a read, containing findings such as “less than 10% of procurement functions are anywhere near adopting this latest iteration of procurement,” and “72% of procurement leaders are spending less than 2% of their budgets on training,” and “only 16% of procurement leaders are focusing on enhancing the digital skills of their teams.”

So another thorough and informative report from Edbury Daley, which begins with a somewhat troubling question: Times are changing, politically, economically and technologically - where will that leave you, your employer, your career, the demand for your skills and the future of your working life? To formulate some kind of answer, or guidance, download the full report Procurement and Spend Management Insider, here, a must-read for anyone working in, wanting to move into, or wishing to recruit for, the procurement and supply chain technology sector.

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