New Edbury Daley Report – The Procurement Recruitment Market and Brexit

Edbury Daley, the procurement recruitment firm, has just released its Quarterly Market Update (read and download here) for the recruitment market in our sector. As well as their normal commentary on the last three months, the report contains insights and comments on Brexit and the future - the firm has worked quickly to take some soundings post referendum, as well as observing immediate trends from clients and candidates.

“Andrew Daley spoke to a series of senior managers, mainly from the procurement technology sector whilst Peter Brophy focused on his clients in the consulting market. Both also took soundings from corporate procurement leaders whilst Cosmin Graur canvassed opinion across our candidate network with particular focus on EU nationals working in the UK”.

However, the three months covered in the report (April – June) were in the main pre-Brexit, so most of the actual data on vacancies refers to that period. The report segments the market, and in the sectors covering procurement technology and procurement consulting, the situation was similar in Q2 to that in Q1, being reasonably buoyant. Demand was good at consultant level as the impact of reduced graduate hiring in 2009-12 works through, and in the spend analysis sector within the technology area. Candidates can be choosy these days too.

“Increasingly candidates are concerned about the brand that they work for and if the work is 'meaningful'. People in all sectors are increasingly focused on their career and many, especially recent graduates, are more prepared to move to get what they want and many firms have much higher turnover at this level than they care to admit”.

In the permanent recruit practitioner area, again Q2 was fairly flat but with strong demand for IT/ digital procurement experts – “people who understand the supply market for fully integrated business / cloud solutions are certainly flavour of the month and can command premium salaries”.

The interim market has been pretty weak according to this and previous reports, but a change may be on the horizon – “as one Senior Manager of a high profile procurement consultancy put it when we were questioning him about the impact of BREXIT on his business: “we plan to use more contractors rather than making permanent hires during this period of uncertainty.”

But the most interesting section of this report comes in the commentary on Brexit. Daley, Brophy, Graur and Simon Edbury have each written an article covering the findings from their discussions with market players along with some personal opinion on the topic. They’re well worth reading – here are just a few excerpts and snippets, but do take a look at the whole report.

“Procurement has a critical role to play in how business moves forward in this new trading environment. Businesses will always need to save money, particularly when they are under the cosh. We feel confident that business will continue, the dust will settle.”  (Senior Manager, Procurement SaaS provider)

We’ve had great success moving EU nationals from countries including Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and France to the UK. Is that route going to become much more challenging and costly for our clients? It appears that in the long term we’ve just made it harder for people to move here to build their careers. I’ve been talking about a skills shortage in the procurement profession and the procurement solutions sector for some time as regular readers will know. This is clearly unlikely to help that particular problem. (Andrew Daley)

Although professionally these people don’t feel threatened or haven’t seen any changes after the referendum, one of them did say that “the mood in the UK definitely changed”. A senior implementation consultant, who has been in the UK for 9 years, feels more self-conscious in his daily life. A concern he expressed was about travelling with his young family during the weekends to the countryside and interacting with the locals, saying that he often thinks “Is he/she a Nigel Farage supporter?” (Cosmin Graur)

Most reported no changes to hiring plans and all my clients have not reported any negativity - we anticipate that whilst the market remains uncertain there may be a slight fall in demand for permanent hires but a rise for interims / contractors particularly in sectors more easily subject to market volatility. Some felt there will be increased demand all round for Procurement and Supply Chain people. "It may make us slightly short term and cautious in the UK for a while, but will use many more contractors / associates while things are uncertain and if we grow in the US we can either hire locally or move people over”.  (Peter Brophy)


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