"Boards and CEOs are sitting up and taking notice of talented individuals. The CIPS/Hays Salary Guide clearly shows that professionals with the right experience and capabilities will be sought out and rewarded leading to varied and interesting careers for decades to come."
Group CEO, Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
challenges, skills and opportunities
believe that Directors and Heads of other departments
understand what procurement specialists can offer
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the procurement profession. As is the case for many professions, we’ve had to change and adapt to new circumstances and ways of working, which presents both challenges and opportunities to bring in positive changes.
Soft skills continue to dominate the top five skills in demand across all sectors, with supplier relationship management (SRM) being particularly crucial. Whilst technical skills and procurement qualifications remain important for career development and credibility, soft skills are central to delivering strategic solutions, leading teams and managing stakeholders.
Many of us have transitioned to a remote working environment and we’ve needed to adapt our communication styles accordingly. Arguably, strong communication skills result in better performance across all soft skills: good communicators are better able to lead, influence, and manage stakeholders and suppliers. This suggests that a focus on training individuals in this vital skill is likely to be a significant boost to any procurement team.
With the events of the last year, the procurement profession, like many others has faced significant challenges. Whilst many have successfully implemented new practices, over half of professionals believe that recovering from the pandemic will be a key short-term challenge. Continuing to show the value of procurement to those outside the profession will be key to full recovery.
Changing EU procurement regulations are also identified as a challenge to overcome across all sectors, as Brexit has created new levels of complexity and new norms that the profession needs to comply with. Keeping on top of changing legislation to limit disruption will be key to navigating the uncertainty that lies ahead. Managing risk in the supply chain continues to prove challenging for procurement professionals. Dealing with constant disruption, reacting to change and managing risk will be key to tackle this challenge.
Salaries, Bonuses and Benefits
average salary for
professional salary increase
Despite the challenges of the last year, employers are rewarding procurement professionals with salary increases above the national average rate.
More than half of UK procurement professionals received a pay rise last year. On average, they earned a 5% salary increase, compared to the national average of 4.2%. This is a great sign of the procurement function's increasing status and value across sectors and industries.
As we might expect, employers are willing to pay a premium for candidates with professional qualifications, with FCIPS and MCIPS increasing the likelihood of a higher salary and pay rise. Besides the higher salaries, MCIPS offers a more positive career outlook, with 60% of employers requesting MCIPS (or studying towards MCIPS) as a preference when recruiting. This is likely to be driven by the technical knowledge gained from the qualification as well as the dedication required to pursue it: individuals motivated to invest time in further study show ambition and a thirst to succeed. Similarly, upgrading to Chartered status (which is free of charge for eligible MCIPS) further indicates a desire for continued professional development.
The benefits of MCIPS and FCIPS designations extend to bonuses. Those with an MCIPS qualification are more likely to receive a bonus, and are also more likely to receive larger bonuses than their Non-MCIPS counterparts. As one of the most prestigious professional qualifications, MCIPS members have demonstrated their commitment to the profession and, as such, receive higher rewards for their work.
Similarly, procurement professionals with an FCIPS designation are more likely to receive a larger bonus than Non-FCIPS members. As the highest grade of CIPS membership, FCIPS recognises outstanding levels of achievement, knowledge and experience, resulting in those with Fellowship status commanding the highest levels of remuneration.
On average, those who received a bonus were awarded an average of 8.5% of their salary, with the percentage increasing with seniority.
Although the vast majority found that their bonus was set by their organisation's commercial performance, they would have preferred for it to have been linked to their own personal targets. Just over a quarter would also have liked for performance against their team's targets to be taken into account - a reflection of the importance of collaboration and teamwork in the past year.
Many of us have benefited from more flexible working practices in the last 12 months. Whether it’s flexibility in choosing where to work or when, procurement professionals now have more freedom and an improved work-life balance.
Given the move away from traditional office environments, a higher proportion of procurement professionals found themselves benefiting from home working and flexible working hours than actively sought out these benefits. Now that these benefits have become the norm, employees will start looking for other indicators of flexibility beyond home working, such as compressed hours and flexible timetables.
Flexible and home working can no longer be considered merely ‘desirable’, there is a need to ensure benefit packages meet employee needs, as currently, in most cases, availability exceeds desirability. For example, a work mobile phone is identified as being considerably more likely to be offered than desired. Also, there is a desire for private medical insurance, but currently only a third are offered it. Careful consideration should be given to the packages offered and investment should focus on those areas that are most likely to appeal to employees and keep them engaged as well as attract new talent.
(or studying towards) when hiring
stated lack of technical skills/evidence
of formal procurement training as a
main challenge when hiring
As always, attracting the best talent is about more than just an industry-beating salary.
Salary is the leading motivator when it comes to securing a new job, but the last year has reshaped expectations of what the ideal job in procurement looks like. Employers need to recognise changing mindsets around the role of work and reflect these changing priorities in their hiring practices. Employees are looking beyond salaries and financial benefits to initiatives that will support their wellbeing and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In a year where we’ve seen huge changes in the workplace, there is still a struggle to find the right talent. 49% say they have struggled to find the right talent in the last 12 months, driven by candidate salary expectations and a lack of skills and experience which is reflected in the lower levels of employee movement we have seen in the past year.
However, despite this increased caution, there is still an openness to new opportunities, and one of the prime motivations for seeking a new role is career advancement. 72% of procurement professionals are seeking a more senior procurement role in the next two years, which highlights the need to offer clear progression paths in order to retain the best talent. If it’s unclear how they would be promoted internally, they are likely to be drawn to external opportunities.
Furthermore, whilst salary remains the most important factor driving employee movement, we’ve also seen a need for reassurance about job security climbing up the list of priorities this year. In fact, job security ranks higher than financially-related incentives, such as bonuses and career progression opportunities, in a likely reflection of the current economic climate.
Conversely, 30% of those not looking for a new role say they don’t wish to move as they want to retain their current work-life balance.
With the pandemic impacting every area of our lives, maintaining a good work-life balance is more important now than ever and is a key reason not to pursue a more senior role or look to switch jobs. Informal flexible working and flexi-time are also important to employees, giving them flexibility to fit work around their home life.
In order to attract and retain talent from diverse groups, it’s important for organisations to consider their approach to flexible working, ensuring that it’s in step with employee expectations and changing market norms. Given the close link to employee retention, it’s likely that introducing a market-leading flexible working proposition will be well worth the effort and investment.
"The shift to remote working has provided organisations with the unique opportunity to demonstrate a great deal more flexibility... that welcomes and supports a wealth of different personal circumstances.”
Group Head Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Hays
Equality Diversity and Inclusion
(ED&I) in the Workplace
agree that a diverse and
inclusive culture makes for
a more attractive workplace
agree that their organisation
is committed to developing
a diverse and inclusive team
One of the many things that the pandemic and shift to greater remote working has highlighted for procurement is the varied needs and requirements of employees. To operate effectively, organisations need to ensure that their workforce truly represents the communities they operate in and serve. When those from diverse backgrounds work together to create a service we all rely on, the outcome is much more likely to benefit everyone.
It’s clear that procurement professionals celebrate the many benefits that ED&I brings to the internal talent pool, organisational culture and company reputation. Engaging in diverse and inclusive hiring practices not only helps to attract new talent by encouraging applications from under-represented groups, but 88% believe that diverse and inclusive hiring practices ensure a more open and trusting workplace – helping to improve staff retention. This shows how important it is to pursue a diversity and inclusion strategy – not just for its own merits – but to attract and retain talented staff.
Although there is still some way to go towards achieving truly diverse representation in the workplace, around one in five organisations (across all sectors) have implemented diversity recruitment targets, showing a willingness to be held accountable for their efforts in improving diversity and inclusion.
Furthermore, 61% of the organisations surveyed are using unbiased language to describe vacancies, organisation and culture; and nearly half provide training for hiring managers to reduce unconscious bias. This direct action from organisations is vital if we are to continue making progress towards eliminating impediments that might inhibit credible procurement professionals from gaining equal access to opportunities in the world of work.
The interim workforce is largely
composed of advanced professionals
with 10+ years experience
Despite the pressure to streamline all business functions and make cost efficiencies, it’s clear that organisations across all sectors have leaned on the expertise of interim procurement professionals to help navigate the fluctuating operating landscape.
Interim workers have provided a short term solution to the ‘skills gap’, compensating for the shortage of skills that are most sought-after by hiring managers. There has also been a need to source experts in specific areas of procurement – notably, change and transformation - as well as generalists to support stretched teams.
Over the last 12 months, contractors and organisations who employ them have benefited from additional time to plan for the IR35 changes that were implemented in April 2021. It will be interesting to observe how (and whether) the role of interims evolves over the next year, as confidence in making permanent hires grows and the full effects of reforms to IR35 are better understood.