Hays / CIPS Salary Guide Out Now – and Wisdom from the CIPS CEO

Last week, the 2019 Hays / CIPS Procurement Salary Guide report was launched (in the very pleasant setting of the Cap Gemini conference suite, on the 8th floor of their Holborn viaduct office – great views, somewhat dominated by cranes, as the London building boom continues! - we are told).

By all accounts there were around 70 CIPS members there to hear Scott Dance of recruitment firm Hays announce the headlines from the report, which is based on an extensive survey conducted in late 2018 with over 3000 respondents. But there were also good presentations from Malcolm Harrison, CIPS CEO (see picture), John Glen, CIPS economist and Elysia McCaffrey, Deputy Head of the Government Equalities Office.

The report has just been published and you can request a copy here, so we were asked not to give away too many of the details. But let’s just say it appears to be good news for the procurement profession in terms of salary trends. Well, good news for individuals, but perhaps less so for organisations trying to find and attract good candidates! The war for talent is likely to continue, we predict. And one other interesting headline – it appears that the “gender pay gap” might be narrowing in the profession, but there are still some major discrepancies at the more senior end of the scale.

We were fortunate to have our frient and ex colleague - Peter Smith - there as our internal sleuth - here's what he reported:

Glen is a regular speaker at events such as e-World so we won’t get into his messages too much here – he talked about the UK as a high-employment, low-productivity economy, a conundrum that clearly has positives and negatives, and he sees skills shortages continuing. And McCaffrey was very good – she is passionate about her topic, the gender pay gap, but she is also analytical. That’s important because unless we understand the different elements that lead to the gap, they won’t be resolved.

So, there are issues ranging from pure equal pay failings (i.e. a man and a woman doing the same job but not being paid the same), to much more complex issues around the perception of whether certain jobs are “suitable” for women, or the tendency for women not to negotiate so hard for salary increases. And did you know that there’s hard evidence that if you only have one woman on a shortlist for a job, they almost never get it? Have two, and the situation dramatically changes.

But back to Harrison, who gave a short but powerful presentation. He started out in procurement, held serious CPO roles, but has also worked as a CEO prior to his CIPS appointment (with Rexam and of course Crown Commercial Service), and he’s also had stints in HR and operations. So given that experience, he’s worth listening to when he talks about skills and careers.

He talked about the opportunities for procurement in a world where supply chain issues now include modern slavery, provenance, ethics … but we still have to deliver value and security of supply, of course. That makes our jobs more challenging, more important and more stimulating too. He talked about the skills and experience that will be needed for procurement professionals to succeed in the future, including the emerging soft skills, now seen as key, such as emotional intelligence and “cognitive flexibility” (that was a new one for me!).

He finished though with a series of ten personal observations – pieces of advice really – based on his own experience, which I found particularly interesting.  Some were not unexpected: “deliver and build a reputation for delivery,” but others are more thought provoking. How about “balance confidence with humility?”  That’s not a word (humility) we hear often, and of course we want our teams to act with confidence, but Harrison also urges that we should realise that we’re not always right, we need to listen to others and show that humility when appropriate.

He also says that “influence is more important than position” – I think that is increasingly true, as organisations become more fluid and agile to respond to the pace of change, although I’m less sure it applies across the public sector!

The presentations were followed by a Q&A, with some further debate on a number of topics, including what procurement leaders can do to support women reaching more senior roles. That was followed by networking and some of the best tempura prawns I’ve had in a long time – so thanks to Cap Gemini and Hays (and CIPS of course) for an interesting, worthwhile and useful couple of hours.


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