HAYS REPORT: Procurement Skills In Demand In 2018


Author: PASA

Keen to know which skills are in demand, or what recruiting, salary or candidate trends are impacting your sector? Hays Jobs Report is a guide to current hotspots of recruitment activity and trends. It is updated twice a year to reflect changing market conditions.

Hotspots of skills in demand

Australia’s procurement recruitment market will remain active this half across both the private and public sectors thanks to the importance that is being placed on procurement processes and functions.

During the first half of 2018, we expect to see high demand for procurement professionals with full end-to-end experience, particularly around service contracts as opposed to goods. This demand will be driven by cost-saving measures.

Category Managers will be needed too given that this is the procurement framework larger organisations are adopting.

Mid-range Contracts Administrators with experience will be sought, however there is a shortage of people with solid experience at this level.

Relevant industry experience has started to become more important to employers, and we expect this trend to continue to gain prominence in the first half of 2018. In particular, we are seeing high demand for procurement professionals with ICT experience. ICT is viewed as a category that candidates must have worked in if they are to be considered for a role. Organisations are not prepared to offer relevant training, which means that Contracts / Category Specialists with IT experience will be in high demand for organisations that are transforming IT.

Public sector procurement experience will also be sought since employers in this sector want candidates with an existing understanding of the relevant processes.

Capex procurement experience will also be sought as organisations look for candidates who can negotiate with large engineering or construction organisations on projects.

Buyers with oil & gas experience will be needed as this industry ramps up. So too will Contract Managers and Category Managers with resources & mining experience. Again, employers are insistent that candidates have prior experience in contracts in the resources & mining industry. However, many procurement professionals were made redundant during the downturn and have secured work elsewhere. This has created a shortage of suitable professionals.

Given the focus on gender diversity in the mining industry, we also expect demand to rise for female Contracts and Procurement professionals with mining experience. Mining companies have ambitious targets for gender equality and this will remain a focus over the short to medium term.

Finally, we have also started to see growing demand for degree qualifiedprocurement professionals. Some employers will not consider candidates without a degree.

Are you an aspiring CPO?

We recently spoke to 94 senior procurement professionals in Australia & New Zealand who shared with us their career experiences and advice on how to become a CPO.

In our conversations with these CPOs, it was clear that today’s procurement and supply chain leaders operate in a world of continuous change. They have transitioned from a tactical to a strategic function where they contribute to overall business efficiency and competitiveness and directly impact the bottom line.

This creates quality opportunities for those entering the profession, but it’s important that people set themselves up for success if they want to rise to the top.

You can prepare for success in the following ways:

  • Gain commercial acumen: 66% say commercial acumen is the most important skill for a CPO to possess, and advise this can be achieved by understanding the needs and daily operations of the various business teams you serve. Previous experience outside procurement also provides valuable insight;
  • Learn stakeholder engagement: In second place is stakeholder engagement (64%) – not surprising when the top rated career challenge amongst CPOs was organisational politics;
  • Become a people manager: 44% said people management skills are important – on average CPOs have 61 indirect reports and 6 direct reports;
  • Be proactive and collaborative: 71% say having a proactive nature is the most important personal characteristic for a CPO, closely followed by being collaborative (64%) and hardworking (60%);
  • Be ethical: 56% say being ethical is a key personal characteristic that’s helped them succeed in their career so far;
  • Work overseas: 57% of CPOs have worked outside Australia or New Zealand. Of these, 67% say the experience benefited their career considerably while 26% said it was of some benefit;
  • Work hard: 53% of CPOs have 16 or more years’ experience in procurement, during which time 68% worked for four or more organisations and 45% received four or more promotions before reaching their current position. Together this shows that becoming a CPO requires solid experience and hard work;
  • Drive the sustainability agenda: 63% say an increased focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility will become a bigger part of the CPO role in the next five years;
  • Keep abreast of industry trends: 69% attend events and conferences to keep up-to-date with the latest news and industry trends, while 57% network online. 91% use LinkedIn;
  • Be aware of upcoming challenges: 49% say aligning and educating internal departments on the value of the procurement function is the biggest challenge facing them in the coming 12 months;
  • Find a mentor: A lack of mentoring, support and guidance is a career challenge that sounds familiar to 24%. Focus on your career development and find someone who can mentor you throughout your career journey.


Have you heard about PASA CPO Summit in March? ‘Future Proofing You’ will be held on 13 & 14th March 2018 in Sydney. 


About Author

Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA) is the leading provider of information and education to procurement and supply professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, awards, plus various community and network building activities. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing, for many years recognised as the leading producer of conferences and events for the procurement profession in Australia and New Zealand. Whether producing under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences or now PASA brands over the last ten years, our events have consistently led the market in terms of both educational and networking opportunities.

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