An interesting shift is taking place within procurement. In the past organisations used the procurement function to reduce costs, but today procurement professionals need to make themselves relevant in not only a cost cutting sense but by integrating themselves into the whole business, not just finance. Procurement professionals need to drive value into other areas of the business, leading innovation and change. Risk management, relationship management and social procurement will be areas that procurement professionals need to be proficient at to remain relevant in a continually changing environment.
In terms of geographical trends, businesses in the mining and industrial sectors in NSW are continually looking to drive costs down and improve supplier performance. As such they are looking for sourcing and category specialists with experience in these industries who understand the complexities and variety of contracts.
Meanwhile in South Australia the procurement market is candidate rich thanks to current conditions in the resources sector. Consequently employers have become very selective in who they will consider.
The general feeling in Western Australia is that the market has hit the bottom and will start to recover. We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of temporary jobs as some companies recognise that they cut staff numbers too deeply.
We have also seen an increasing number of permanent procurement roles as employers continue to restructure their procurement function in a more efficient way.
There is also a general realisation from some employers that it is a great time to secure good candidates and put key people in place.
In non-resources locations we’re seeing a candidate shortage. For example, in ACT public sector employers are looking for procurement professionals across all levels. This has increased the likelihood of promotion, which has not been the case for several years as previously employers would only consider candidates who have worked at the level required.
ACT’s private sector is also facing a shortage of quality candidates for permanent positions and employers need to position their roles at a more competitive salary level if they want to attract the top talent.
Outside the mining industry in New South Wales we’ve seen less generalist roles and more specialist roles as employers look for sourcing, contracts or inventory experts. These professionals are tasked with engaging with new and existing suppliers to improve performance and reduce cost.
In addition, there is more understanding of the benefits of procurement and therefore more companies are moving to a strategic model. As a result jobs will be created for people who have managed strategic processes.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Category Managers. We have seen a lot of companies moving towards a more strategic approach to procurement, which requires genuine Category Managers to handle the entire end to end procurement process. In addition, there are a lot of big projects underway in various locations, and so senior candidates are in high demand.
Senior Procurement Specialists are another area of demand. Candidates must be technically sound, qualified and able to offer more than just transactional processes.
Contract Managers are also needed. Professionals often progress quickly in this space and so candidates at the $80,000 to $100,000 level are sought.
In regional trends, Procurement Officers, Purchasing Officers and Buyers are needed in South Australia as businesses continue to look at reducing expenditure as much as possible.
In New South Wales Sourcing Specialists are in high demand in the mining, engineering and manufacturing sectors to drive cost reductions. In addition, Purchasing Officers with SAP experience and the ability to engage with suppliers and build rapport quickly are also sought. Positions are available due to increased workloads.
In Western Australia Strategic Sourcing Specialists/Procurement Specialists are sought. With organisations under cost constraints there is an increased focus on strategic sourcing and contracts specialists with an operational background who can implement cost saving strategies. Employers are also putting more emphasis on qualifications, both tertiary and CIPS.
Canberra’s public sector is experiencing high demand for Tender Specialists within the area of technical projects to develop RFT documentation and manage end-to-end tenders.
Procurement Advisors with current security clearances are also sought in corporate teams that provide advice and quality assurance on relevant documentation.
Security cleared candidates who are available for contract roles are in short supply.
Also in Canberra, Procurement Analysts are rare and so their skills are highly sought after in the private sector.
In terms of candidate trends, the pool of available talent is shrinking due to an increase in available positions and the demand for candidates with specialist skills in sourcing and contract negotiation.
Candidates are more willing to work on contract and are leaving permanent jobs if they are unhappy to take on medium to long-term temporary assignments.
Procurement professionals are also undertaking additional study to complement their experience. With employers increasingly selective and expecting candidates to have a degree, up-skilling their education is a sensible value-adding exercise for candidates.
We expect roles to remain mainly contract driven in Canberra, however candidates in long-term contract roles are expected to go permanent.
ACT candidates often receive multiple offers, and we have seen counter offers return to the market. As a result employers need to sell their vacancy and organisation to their preferred candidate.