The digital and technological divide between jobseekers’ skills and employers’ requirements has never been greater than it is today as we approach the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to recruiting experts Hays.
Of the new jobs added to its Hays Quarterly Report of skills in demand, almost all require the knowledge and capabilities needed to utilise new emerging technologies and digital trends, from new systems to robotics, 3D printing to data analytics.
Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand tells PASA: “If you aren’t continuously upskilling in new technology relevant to your field, you’re behind the times. Change happens so fast that some of the skills now required hadn’t been heard of a few years ago.
“There aren’t many jobs or industries where technology isn’t integral. With an overwhelming number of emerging new technologies, our advice is to narrow your focus to those that are or could be adopted in your field. No one can be an expert in every new development, so upskill in only those relevant to your job or the job you aspire to.”
Market trends in Procurement
Vacancy activity within Australia’s procurement market is steady quarter-on-quarter, with trends continuing to vary by location.
Starting with ACT’s government sector, ASL caps are still under review and continue to create contract vacancy activity. There’s still a strong requirement for APS5 and APS6 staff across all departments as hiring managers and directors need hands-on professionals as opposed to executive or managerial staff.
Interestingly, more complex end-to-end procurement professionals are sought in order to provide a higher level of advice to achieve commercial outcomes on existing processes.
Developing more complex contract management teams and negotiation processes are a focus, with an emphasis on building separate, yet collaborative, contract management teams that will sit alongside corporate procurement areas. Most contract management is still managed by corporate procurement areas that don’t necessarily have specialist Contract Managers.
New jobs are being created based on new project requirements. These are mostly six to 12 month contract opportunities as government departments like the flexibility and productivity of temporary staff.
Turning to NSW, infrastructure investment is leading to more contract and permanent senior-level positions within the public sector, especially for Contract Managers and Category Managers.
In Queensland, entry-level procurement roles remain a focus. As noted last quarter, there are more permanent roles on the market than there we saw in the last two years. Employers are therefore more flexible on industry-relevant experience and will consider candidates who are the right cultural fit and who possess the right systems experience. This is particularly evident in the mining industry, where employers will recruit people without mining experience.
In South Australia, growing SMEs continue to add stand-alone procurement professionals to their team rather than merge their purchasing function with another role. In the public sector, the need for short-term contractors continues, particularly in areas where employees have been seconded to other major contracts.
The Victorian State Government is in the process of reorganising departments and statutory bodies to support a number of major projects, particularly in the transport and infrastructure space. This is creating shorter-term and project-based contracts for end-to-end procurement specialists. Hiring managers still prefer to see candidates with previous public sector experience given the lengths of contracts, but are open to considering those who have worked in tier one companies with rigorous probity and process policies.
Outside the government sector, the healthcare and not-for-profit sectors have seen an increased demand for commercially minded professionals in preparation for the NDIS rollout.
Overall, the private sector is buoyant as businesses appreciate what an investment in procurement can deliver to the bottom line.
Skills in demand
According to the latest report, a selection of skills in demand include:
In the ACT, NV1/2 Cleared Defense Procurement candidates are still needed to work on the increasing number of project needs.
Senior Procurement Specialists at the middle-management level with experience leading small teams are sought in the commercial sector as procurement teams continue to grow.
NSW continues to need Contract Managers due to an increase in bids and tenders resulting from infrastructure investment.
Good Procurement Officers remain in short supply as teams expand.
In Queensland, SAP experienced professionals remain in short supply. The cost and time involved in learning SAP skills have led to this shortage.
Contracts Administrators are required to assist with the many projects at pre-award stage. Those with pivot table and advanced Excel skills are needed to perform data analysis.
In South Australia, Category Managers with state government experience remain in high demand due to employees being seconded onto major projects, causing an increase in temporary requirements.
In Victoria Procurement Administrators/Support Officers with advanced Excel skills are in demand to provide relief to busy procurement teams where the budgets are tight.
Demand for Procurement Specialists and Category Managers with experience in infrastructure, capital works and construction is expected to grow as projects are signed off and ground broken.
For all skills in demand in procurement please visit the Hays Quarterly Report www.hays.com.au/report/procurement-5834