Australia’s procurement job market is active, with a lot of new roles created as organisations redefine their procurement strategy. This includes restructuring category management and driving specific category plans.
While permanent roles are available, many employers also prefer to recruit contractors to support existing staff and help reduce their workload.
Given activity, candidate levels have reduced. When they recruit employers look for candidates with strong stakeholder engagement and supplier management skills as well as excellent negotiation skills. They also view cultural fit as essential.
There are a number of companies going through restructures and outsourcing projects, which is leading to greater demand for specialist and strategic skills rather than transactional and lower level purchasing skills.
In addition, candidates in transactional roles can no longer rely on existing customer relationships to carry them into their next job. Instead they must prove that they are dynamic and can apply themselves across multiple levels of the supply chain to add value to different divisions across a business.
In the public sector, recruitment freezes are lifting. While permanent positions are becoming available, the focus still remains on contract given the internal processes that each department needs to go through to make a permanent hire. We are also seeing short-term contracts with an option for longer term extensions.
Good candidates are quickly secured and they are finding that they have multiple offers to choose from.
We are seeing a shift in the market, with employers looking closely at candidates’ qualifications and accomplishments rather than duties previously performed. As a result, candidates with tertiary qualifications or a Certificate IV in Government Procurement are viewed highly.
Skills in demand
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Category Managers. As organisations restructure category management and drive specific category plans, we are seeing an increased need for Category Managers. Organisations who are investing strongly in this area often look for candidates with experience in a specific category, such as marketing or IT.
Purchasing Officers are sought by SMEs that continue to focus on cost savings.
Senior Contracts Managers with a solid legal understanding are needed to further support procurement teams.
Strategic Sourcing Managers, Procurement Specialists, Procurement Officers and Procurement Analysts are also all needed.
In the public sector APS6/EL1 Procurement Specialists are in high demand as there are a lot of new projects commencing and procurement reform procedures anticipated for the next six to 12 months. Therefore experienced professionals at this level are sought as they have enough knowledge to hit the ground running, provide value to a project, manage a larger volume of work and act in a higher role if necessary. Quality candidates will remain in high demand for contracts of at least six months as more permanent (longer term non-ongoing and ongoing) opportunities become available for contractors at this level. We’re also seeing the pool of available talent reducing quickly, while the demand for contractors remains strong.
Procurement Advice Professionals are also sought as new government branches are established and reform processes get underway. Therefore people who have the knowledge to be able to provide sound advice based on a wide range of experiences are required to help establish new frameworks, areas and projects.
ICT Procurement Managers and Contract Managers are in demand. As more roles become available, employers look for candidates with a high level of technical skills and hands-on experience.
Purchasing Officers are also sought. Candidates need ERP specific experience and industry relevance.
Category Managers are needed too, especially in health which is moving towards a category system.
Finally, candidates with security clearances are still highly sought after and most positions require this documentation.
In terms of candidate trends, jobseekers are thinking about potential opportunities in a much more strategic manner, considering all their options and what role will benefit their career the most long term.
More candidates are enrolling in strategic courses, such as Certificate IV in Government Procurement, as this is becoming seen as the new standard in the public sector.
They are also constantly updating and personalising their CV to suit individual roles. For more CV advice please visit the career advice page of our website.
In other trends, a number of jobseekers with marketing or ICT backgrounds are looking to transition into category management.
While senior level candidates are more willing to look at transactional roles we still see a candidate shortage of sourcing, category and contracts specialists.
Finally, a large number of candidates are willing to leave permanent roles for contract positions in order to gain more diverse experience.