Latest Edbury Daley Report on Procurement Recruitment Paints a Stormy Landscape

Manchester-based global procurement technology recruitment specialists, Edbury Daley, have just released their second report of this year into the conditions and trends in the procurement recruitment market. The Procurement & Spend Management Insider looks into job market conditions for anyone working in, wanting to move into or wishing to hire for the procurement technology, supply chain solution, or generally procurement professional sectors.

During the months since its last report in March, up to and including the election period in the UK, it found overall that the buoyant market observed throughout 2015 and much of 2016 had slowed somewhat. Then in the second half of June, reports told of a discernible spike in the number of new roles. June saw an increase of 4% in permanent vacancies across the UK, and 2% overall for the 12 month period up to the end of June; in the same period, temporary roles decreased by 13%.

One of the marked differences over the past 6 months from previous months has been the increased difficulty in identifying clear trends. This, the report puts down to the more erratic behaviour of companies which are either hiring aggressively to support growth, or seeking to increase critical mass through acquisition, or struggling to maintain headcount while financial performance declines. However, it can identify that demand is noticeably up for consultants with procurement technology implementation experience, but down for middle management procurement professionals. (Is this the long-awaited squeeze beginning as procurement roles get automated and AI'd out of existence? commented Peter Smith). There has been a recent increase in new leadership roles in the manufacturing sector in particular, but this is not the reflected in the wider market.

So, with most companies’ eyes now firmly fixed on recruiting for 2018, it’s worth mentioning that developments in the technology space, like the SAP/Ariba and IBM/Watson alliance, Coupa’s acquisition of Spend360, Proactis’ possible move into the top division, and Jaggaer’s most recent merger with Pool4Tool, and the many senior management shifts of late, could well point to an increase in more sales-people hires. However, the report does concede that overall demand for delivery-focused people in areas like eSourcing and P2P is down from 2016.

Having said that, Edbury Daley are completing more specialist recruitment projects in Europe than ever before. This higher demand than in the UK is down to growth in the procurement technology market and the wider uptake of solutions, particularly in Germany, France, Netherlands and the Nordics. It also predicts significant growth in southern Europe and Asia for both sales and delivery skillsets.

The report also looks at the key trends across recruitment sectors, such as:

Corporate, where it sees an upward move towards embracing digital change and spend analytics in particular, so those skillsets will be prevalent

Supply Chain Finance, where it expects to see growth as wider understanding and adoption occurs among European customers

Consulting, where demand for specialist software knowledge is up, and hiring of more junior levels is steady (competition for the best graduates or those with 2-5 years’ experience is still fierce)

There is less good news for Contractors, who may expect to have to take lower rates as “the interim market for core procurement professionals remains flat. Whilst most career interims are able to find decent assignments, there is still spare capacity available and the time between projects is longer than many contractors would like,” it reports. However, this situation is expected to improve.

Edbury Daley also delve into what the impact of leaving the EU will be on this market, how the battle for talent will change across Europe, and how that will affect the labour market at all skill levels.

It is, in our opinion, a very valuable report, which can be downloaded for free here. And in the next report, the firm say they'll be in a position to divulge which solution providers are investing to drive growth next year, and which are approaching it with more caution. that will aid those wishing to hire or get hired in 2018, including the increasing number of practitioners who may wish to move across to the provider side of the table.

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