Recruitment Trends in Procurement & Supply Chain for 2024

The UK's procurement and supply chain landscape is currently in a state of flux. From the ongoing impact of Covid to global disruptions and technological advancements, businesses need to adapt their strategies and secure the talent to thrive. Elevation have identified five key recruitment trends shaping the sector in 2024: 

 ERG Graphic P S key trends

1. Agility is Key 

Unforeseen challenges are a constant reality. A staggering 69% of UK businesses plan on switching all or most of their suppliers more locally due to ongoing supply chain disruptions as reported in a recent Software Advice study. This showcases the need for adaptable procurement strategies. Businesses need to seek candidates who can manage these risks and ensure a seamless flow of goods and services. Look for individuals with experience in diversifying suppliers as over-reliance on a limited number of suppliers can leave your business vulnerable. Technology also plays a crucial role. KPMG's "The Future of Supply Chain" report (2023) found that 62% of UK businesses plan to increase investment in technology to improve supply chain visibility and mitigate risks. These investments can help you to anticipate and respond to disruptions more effectively. 

2. Digital Champions 

Technology is at the heart of supply chain innovation, and recruiting professionals with expertise in specific solutions is crucial. These "Tech-Champions" will streamline processes, improve efficiency, and generate valuable data insights for a competitive edge. Look for candidates with experience in procurement software, such as eProcurement platforms, spend management solutions, and contract lifecycle management (CLM) software. These tools can automate tasks, optimise spending, and manage supplier relationships more effectively. Data analytics expertise is also an essential skill in using business intelligence (BI) tools and advanced analytics techniques like machine learning and AI will allow these professionals to identify trends, predict demand, and optimise inventory levels. Finally, proficiency in automation solutions like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and blockchain technology can further streamline processes and improve supply chain transparency. By seeking talent with expertise in these areas, your business can leverage technology to gain a significant competitive advantage. 

ERG Graphic Technology

3. Strategic Thinking: Broader Thinking for Broader Benefits 

Procurement and supply chain are no longer isolated functions operating in silos. Today's dynamic business landscape in the UK demands a more strategic approach. According to the 2023 Deloitte Global CPO Survey, a staggering 80% of CPOs globally reported that procurement is increasingly integrated with other business functions. This necessitates professionals with strategic thinking skills and a broader understanding of the organisation's goals. 

Why is Broader Thinking Crucial? 

  • Impact Across the Business: Procurement decisions directly impact various departments – from finance (cost management) to marketing (product availability) and customer service (fulfilment). Strategic procurement professionals can collaborate effectively, ensuring their decisions align with the overall business strategy. 

  • Risk Management: Understanding the bigger picture allows for a more holistic approach to risk management. Procurement professionals can identify potential disruptions early on and work with other departments to mitigate their impact

  • Sustainability: Sustainability is a growing concern for businesses. Strategic procurement professionals can source materials ethically, reduce waste, and contribute to the organisation's sustainability goals.

When looking for the right candidate seek individuals with experience in cross-functional collaboration. Look for evidence of their ability to communicate effectively with diverse teams and translate procurement strategies into tangible business benefits for the UK market. This broader thinking ensures procurement acts as a strategic partner, not just a cost-saving function. 

4. Embrace Global Talent, Benefit Locally 

The traditional approach to recruitment is no longer sufficient. The UK, like many countries, faces a significant skills gap in procurement and supply chain. While definitive numbers for the current workforce are difficult to pinpoint, a report by Gartner in 2023 indicated that over 85% of procurement leaders predict talent shortagesof procurement professionals, with the UK being a key market experiencing this challenge. 

However, this scarcity presents an opportunity! Consider candidates with international experience who bring diverse perspectives, cultural understanding, and the ability to navigate complex global supply chains. Here's how this can benefit your UK operations: 

ERG Graphic Breakdown

By embracing a global mindset and actively seeking international talent, you can tap into a wider pool of qualified professionals and gain a competitive edge in the UK market. 

5. Invest in Your People 

Skilled procurement and supply chain professionals are in high demand, making employee retention a critical priority. To keep your top talent engaged and flourishing, prioritise their development. 

Continuous Learning is Key: Foster a robust learning culture. Offer in-house training programs alongside access to external courses on relevant topics like procurement software, data analytics, and risk management. Don't forget about emerging technologies that are shaping the industry. Support professional development through certifications offered by organisations like CIPS or CILT. Encourage knowledge sharing by organising regular sessions where employees can learn from each other's expertise. Finally, establish a mentorship program that pairs experienced professionals with high-potential individuals to facilitate knowledge transfer and career guidance. 

Promote Internal Mobility for Growth: Don't let valuable talent walk out the door! Develop clear career paths within your organisation specifically for procurement and supply chain professionals. This demonstrates your commitment to their long-term growth. Provide opportunities for employees to gain experience in different areas beyond their current roles. Encourage cross-functional work that broadens their skillsets and prepares them for future leadership opportunities. Consider stretch assignments – temporary projects with new responsibilities – to challenge high-performing employees and help them develop their leadership skills. 

Prioritise Well-being for a Productive Workforce: A happy and healthy workforce is a productive one. Offer competitive compensation and benefits packages that reflect the skills and experience of your employees. Promote a healthy work-life balance through flexible work arrangements, remote working options, and adequate annual leave allowances. Invest in creating a positive work culture fostering open communication, recognition, and appreciation for your employees' contributions. Consider implementing mental health programs and stress management resources to support a thriving workforce. 

To conclude, by understanding these trends and adapting your recruitment strategy, you can ensure you attract the best and brightest talent to navigate the procurement and supply chain landscape. This will position your business for success in a dynamic and ever-changing world. 

Getting the Talent You Need to Succeed 

With our dedicated team of Procurement and Supply Chain Consultants, we are experts in finding the right talent for your needs. Get in touch today to discuss your 2024 recruitment strategy. 

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