Procurement Salary Guide Outlook – Cloudy with a Chance of a Slimmer Gender Pay Gap

If you haven’t already seen the latest procurement salary guide from global professional recruiting group Hays in conjunction with CIPS, then do take a look; it’s certainly an interesting bit of research and probably the largest salary survey in procurement. Over 3000 procurement professionals contributed to the survey, which showed an increase in salaries of 5.3%, continuing a five-year trend of exceeding the national average of 2.7%, driven, it says, by a skills shortage in the UK market and the challenges of Brexit. Candidates with the right mix of technical, and increasingly softer skills are in higher demand and can command bigger salaries, benefits packages, and can leverage multiple job offers.

Dr John Glen, CIPS Economist and Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University said, “As in previous years, the outlook for procurement professionals remains excellent. Demand for their services outstrips supply and this is reflected in healthy wage appreciation …”

Top-line results state that the public sector faired equally with the private sector in terms of pay increases but the charity sector faired even better. The public sector saw 10% more individuals receiving a rise, compared to 2018, while in the private sector, this was 1%. But, the bonus structure showed larger disparities between the sectors, where 51% of procurement professionals in the private sector received a bonus, only 16% in the public or charity sector were similarly rewarded.

The other headlines, and maybe not so welcome, included that the pay gap between genders continues, with men earning more across all professional levels, but, the good news is that this discrepancy is narrowing. “There could be a number of reasons why women continue to be disadvantaged, from unappealing job adverts to women’s reluctance to negotiate on pay,” says the report. “In procurement, 73% of men and 72% of women received a pay increase which is an improvement of 71% and 64% in 2018. Despite men receiving more pay than women generally, at some operational and tactical levels women did earn more than men with roles such as Procurement Executive, Contracts Officer and Supply Chain Planner.” But it also found that men still earn £2k more on average than women at managerial level.

We asked global procurement technology recruitment experts, Edbury Daley, about their thoughts on the findings, and we’d be interested to hear practitioner thoughts too:

“We’re generally wary of reading too much into fairly broad surveys across such a wide area,” they said, “because the more focused ones give the most accurate data. Having said that, the findings are largely consistent with what we see in the market. We certainly have a skills shortage in procurement and we've been saying that for several years now. Unfortunately, it will only get more acute given the lack of training and development in the skills required to embrace the new era of digital procurement. The result of that demand-supply equation is undoubtedly a rise in the cost of those skills so it’s no surprise to see salaries on the increase.

The gender pay gap remains a great frustration but it’s encouraging to hear that it is narrowing. It's now time for that gap to disappear completely and for companies to truly embrace diversity for all its benefits. That's not just the male/female balance in an organisation, it's also about building high-performing teams that are enhanced by having people from different backgrounds and life experiences to offer a range of perspectives.

Our advice to procurement leaders is to retain their best people by offering them clear development opportunities and competitive salaries, this can then translate into a powerful talent attraction message when hiring from both internal and external sources. In the longer term we need more fresh talent into the profession, more training and a clear vision for procurement to move beyond a savings-dominated agenda, otherwise we'll never solve this problem.”

The CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insight 2019 report benchmarks salaries and bonuses for different roles and profiles, and offers insight into career paths in procurement for permanent and interim contracts and across sectors. It can be downloaded from the CIPS website here.


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