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Improving perceptions of procurement

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

I have often spoken in previous blogs about the ongoing transition of procurement from a tactical to a more strategic function taking place in many organisations over recent years. A key part of achieving this is through changing perceptions of the profession away from merely being a cost-saving function. It is therefore encouraging to see in our latest CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2018 report that 69% of professionals agree that the perception of procurement has improved in the last year.

In addition to this, almost three-quarters of professionals say that they believe the profession is valued within their organisation. Looking closer at different sectors, the biggest shift in perception has been in the public sector, rising by 5% in the last year to 75%. The feeling is mutual in other sectors too – 73% in the private sector agree that procurement is valued, followed by 63% of those working in the charity and not-for-profit sector.

Positive perceptions driving salary growth

Greater focus on the value of procurement is reflected in the salary increases we have seen in the last 12 months. Our research shows that procurement salaries have risen by an average of 5.1%, greater than the national average figure for the UK.

Employers are also recognising the benefits of hiring professionals who possess MCIPS qualifications. 61% say they will request MCIPS, or studying towards MCIPS, as a preference when recruiting for their next role. This is not just the case when hiring senior professionals; this year we have seen an increase in these requests by those recruiting for managerial and tactical level roles too.

Challenges still to overcome

Although perception of the procurement function have improved, other challenges still persist, such as how they appropriately manage costs while maintaining quality.

Other top challenges centre around the transition of procurement to become a more strategic function within organisations – professionals say they are having difficulties being seen as a strategic partner to the business, and ensuring that procurement is engaged at the outset of projects.

How to keep up the positive momentum

In order to continue improving perceptions of the procurement profession, I would encourage professionals to take the time to maintain regular contact with internal stakeholders. Building these relationships will, in turn, help to drive change within your organisation.

Senior management in particular are key stakeholders to build strong relationships with. Not only does this enable procurement teams to better understand the overall organisational strategy and therefore align their objectives accordingly, it also provides senior managers an insight into the added value procurement can bring to the organisation, helping to further improve perceptions of procurement in the years to come.

For more insight into salary and hiring trends in the procurement profession, request your copy of the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2018.

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.

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