UK Procurement & Supply Chain Recruitment - March 2022
The Procurement and Supply Chain recruitment market continues at pace and we have seen no let-up in demand for Procurement and Supply Chain staff as we move into the second quarter of 2022. Growth has been led primarily by Permanent staffing demand; with the increase in Interim Recruitment demand we saw in the last quarter of 2021 appearing to slow slightly. While the Permanent market remains strong, we are not seeing as many of our clients seeking Interim staffing solutions as we move into the second quarter of 2022.
Latest IHS Markit / CIPS Flash UK Composite PMI statistics point to quite strong business confidence with February’s PMI figures showing fastest uptick in new order levels for eight months and buoyant optimism the highest since May 2021. We are seeing similar, and we anticipate Permanent recruitment activity and demand to remain high as the year progresses assuming the numerous unknown socio-economic factors (further Covid-19 variants, Ukraine-Russian war, Inflationary pressure, Brexit etc.) do not bring global and UK economic slowdown. Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, discussing the latest Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI figures released 1st March, said "There were certainly several positives for the UK’s manufacturing sector in February as 64% of manufacturing businesses remained optimistic. However, this success comes with a health warning as the Ukrainian crisis deepens and the potential for higher commodity prices, disruptions to supply and economic pain must be considered by businesses as they try to build resilience into their supply chains in the coming months.”
We have seen current demand for procurement and supply chain talent is above pre-pandemic levels with increased demand for specialist talent driven by post pandemic economic growth and focus on UK and global supply chain challenges and at Beaumont Select we have seen the busiest 1st quarter than any other time in our twenty year history.
On hold Projects coming on stream + critical supply chain improvement
Amidst pandemic and lockdown, it seems that many non-critical projects were put on hold. As organisations have become more accustomed to the challenges and vagaries of Pandemic, Brexit and global supply chains, we think many ‘back burner’ projects are being looked at again; and in conjunction with critical supply chain improvements, we will continuing high demand for specialist staffing across the board. Technology Procurement (all areas), Digital Marketing & Logistics will we believe, be in particularly strong demand.
Demand economic for Procurement and Supply Chain Talent remains very high in a ‘candidate led’ market, with companies competing across sectors for a decreasing talent pool. To secure the skills needed, salaries across the board are on the up and we have seen an increase in Salaries irrespective of industry sector.
Increased Employee Confidence
The new year always brings new candidates to the market with employees looking for new opportunities but this year many more employees have come to terms with the challenges of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, and are looking forward to a more positive future, taking on board that their skills are in high demand and opportunities are ‘out there’ in a post pandemic growth economy.
Candidate Led Market
From our clients, putting on hold procurement optimisation plans, increased willingness of candidates coming to terms with the a pandemic effected recruitment market and the need for optimised and risk mitigated supply chains, we have seen both an increase in demand and an increase in available talent willing to move role. Demand remains much higher than supply, particularly in specialist category areas and employers real need to be ‘on their game’, if they want to secure the talent they need.
Employer’s Offering and Packages need to reflect the market
The most significant challenge for employers in all industry sectors, continues to be securing candidates with the specific procurement and supply chain skills required in a ‘candidate short’ market. Employers will need to offer competitive employment packages including home/agile working and be willing to pay maximum market rates in a fast-changing candidate driven market. Mid-level / Category Manager / Specialist Management level roles are particularly hard to source, and salary rates are rising quickly in these areas.
Employers wishing to secure great talent with the right soft skills and attitude will need to adapt a more flexible attitude to working patterns and location of work and in the case of some category expertise, some flexibility on their candidate’s category knowledge portfolio. Cultural fit and adaptability are often major stumbling blocks for many hirers, when the on-paper profile looks perfect. Category skills can be trained but attitude and soft skills less so.
How and where we work
The move to home and agile working during the pandemic has had a fundamental effect on most people’s expectations of how and where they work. For most employees there is now an expectation that home or agile working is offered, with the hybrid model being most requested. Organisations need to have formal and supportive agile working systems in place, and organisations unable to offer this will lose talent and struggle to find new talent.
Companies will need to do more to retain existing staff due to the problems in recruiting new ones. We continue to see counter offers becoming ever more widespread, particularly as the best candidates are usually getting multiple offers. Organisations need to ensure their HR processes and organisational structure, acknowledges, supports and rewards good performance of hard to replace Procurement and Supply Chain people, before they go out to market.
Recruitment and on-boarding:
Recruitment and on-boarding processes need to be slick and candidate focused more than ever. With good people increasingly harder to find organisation need to optimise their Interview Offer and On-boarding processes. The market is moving quickly and talented people with hard to find skills can afford to be ‘choosey’. Any gaps or delays in the company’s recruitment process, runs the risk of losing the candidate’s commitment and loss to other employers.
The Fixed Term Contract (FTC) remains popular with employers and unpopular with Interim specialist, although a 12-month contract can sometimes be a good option. In many instances (particularly shorter duration contracts) the FTC doesn’t deliverer the level of candidate that is really needed. Engaging interims on a day rate will increase the talent pool willing to engage with the client.
In the Interim market the end of 2021 was busier, although still not up to pre Covid-19 / pre IR35 implementation levels and it would appear that the interim marked has seen a lull in the first couple of months of 2022, perhaps because more permanent candidates are coming to the market or maybe companies have more confidence and just want permanent employees. Interim rates are remaining static and most are still inside IR35.
We believe there will be a subtle increase in available Interim contracts outside the IR35 regulations as we move through 2022.
Positive economic indicators for 2022, some sense of leaving the Covid Pandemic behind us environmental & sustainability demands, war in Europeand the ever more urgent need for effective supply chains to meet these challenges, point to strong demand for procurement and supply chain talent and a very busy recruitment procurement and supply chain market in 2022. Offset against this positivity there is the potential that socio-economic factors and the ongoing effects of the Russian-Ukraine war will cause further global inflation and jittery financial markets and the potential for global economic retraction.
Good candidates will remain hard to find; however, we are seeing candidates coming to terms with the uncertainty of a post Pandemic and Brexit influenced economic environment, employees have adjusted, and are more willing to ‘jump ship’ to secure a new opportunity. Despite more candidates coming to market, we see the demand for procurement and supply chain talent increasing at a faster rate than the available talent pool.
In such a competitive market, finding and attracting the best talent will require employers to be more flexible, present solid brand value, security, opportunities for career development, as well as market competitive and comprehensive salary and benefits package. There is also now an expectation amongst most candidates for comprehensive flexible/home working options as part of the employment package. Many employers will need to offer significant salary uplifts and flexible packages, to secure talented professionals already in good jobs.
To engage the candidate and ensure commitment throughout the recruitment process, the recruitment package needs to be backed-up up by efficient, quick and responsive interview and onboarding processes; in what is a fast moving and highly competitive race for talent.
We continue to see 2022 being a great year for the Procurement and Supply Chain professional.Visibility and the importance of Procurement and Supply Chain talent has never been as high as it is now, and we look forward to continuing to support procurement and supply chain professionals, matching them with great jobs in major name organisations in these somewhat uncertain times.
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