Help Wanted: Desperately Seeking Procurement and Supply Chain Talent in Europe and Beyond

It would seem from some of the numbers that Supply Management recently quoted in an article based on a Robert Walters study that Europe is at the stage of desperately seeking procurement and supply chain talent. According to the article, “the number of supply chain and logistics vacancies has risen by 26 per cent overall in Europe year-on-year … [and] in the UK … roles posted on job boards in this sector have shown 38 per cent growth year-on-year.” Spain also saw a significant rise (18%). France and Germany came in at 9% and 5% respectively. The UK numbers would appear to outpace activities in the US on anecdotal basis, but we do not have a similar or comparative dataset to point to.

Further, “the research found that overall there were more new supply chain and logistics positions than in accounting, where vacancies were up by 24 per cent and in financial services, which rose by 20 per cent.” In terms of skill sets and certifications, the article quotes an author of the study (full disclosure: Supply Management is a CIPS publication) that the “the most successful candidates have been those with CIPS qualifications and a background in international supply chains, low cost country sourcing, ethical sourcing or sustainable sourcing.” We can assume the CIPS comment is related to the English market.

There is no question that the war for talent is on. Spend Matters was recently contacted by a large firm that inquired about advertising for vacant positions (a first request we’ve seen in this regard). And in the US, many of our colleagues in the recruiting side of the procurement and supply chain business continue to see significant, mounting growth. But perhaps what is more interesting than actual demand are the drivers of it. As more and more companies further externalize not just their supply chains but also the provision of services delivery, the need to manage third parties will become even more pressing.

Add to this new regulatory compliance needs, continued savings expectations, a newfound focus on general risk mitigation/reduction, emerging working capital/treasury management/trade financing strategies, tax reduction, and other expectations put on the function – and it’s clear that there will be job security for those heading into the function of a level that’s not been seen before, at least in our view.

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