In 2016, demand for procurement and supply chain professionals outstripped supply, leading to improved salary and benefits packages being offered across the UK. There’s no denying, it is a good time to be a procurement professional.
Organisations are increasingly recognising the value of commercially-aligned procurement functions, as well as the more sophisticated skills professionals require to deliver maximum value to their business. By improving or emphasising the skills that are most sought after by employers, you could be eligible for a better position with bigger rewards.
What skills are employers looking for?
As the industry evolves, so too do the tools and programmes. Existing e-purchasing and spend management tools are being superseded by more complex and sophisticated sourcing tools, and the proliferation of omni-channel retail strategies is demanding a more agile approach to supply chain management. Professionals need to remain up-to-date with the latest developments in these areas if they want to command a larger salary and add greater value to their business.
So-called soft or core skills, such as communication and analysis, can be a real differentiator when trying to secure your next big role in procurement. Effective communication in particular is growing in importance as procurement continues to be recognised as a central discipline. Professionals of all levels will require effective stakeholder management skills to ensure that new ventures have the full backing of the senior staff.
A professional who can demonstrate both supplier and stakeholder management will be better positioned for senior roles commanding larger salaries. For example, within the private sector a Head of Procurement can see earnings up to £130,000, and the same role within the public sector could earn up to £95,000. Some companies are even placing procurement and supply professionals on the board, so being able to articulate the importance of the procurement function internally could be of major advantage to your career growth.
The increase in exports from the UK has also led to a surge in demand across many parts of the country for candidates with strong supply chain and manufacturing operations experience. These skill sets are transferable across many different types of manufacturers, so consider exploring other sectors for positions. Heightened demand in some areas could result in better opportunities and increased rewards for talented professionals. For example, earnings for a Head of Supply Chain in London can reach up to £120,000. The same role in the West Midlands or Scotland can earn a near comparable salary, at up to £110,000 and £100,000 respectively.
There are many opportunities available for procurement and supply professionals offering rewarding career paths. In order to secure the top paid positions, you need to be able to demonstrate that your finger is firmly on the pulse of the latest trends, that you understand new technologies and that you possess the most sought-after skills.