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Australia’s Next National Census Is Coming Up : How Should Procurement Professionals Describe Their Occupation?

Stating your occupation as “procurement” in Australia’s upcoming census could prove highly beneficial for the profession.

Australia’s next national census will be held on 10th August 2021. Completing the census is compulsory and all Australian households will be sent instructions on how to take part in early August.

For procurement, this is an opportunity to unify the profession – driving recognition and eliminating any lingering confusion surrounding the function’s purpose.

Consulting Director, Paul Rogers, recommends that professionals state their occupation as “procurement” – and here’s why.

Why should you describe your occupation as “Procurement” in Australia’s upcoming census

1. It will improve recognition for the function

Procurement has historically struggled to gain recognition and acknowledgement from business leaders, colleagues, and clients.

The profession was once dismissed as a back-office function and only in recent years has this perception begun to shift. Today, procurement professionals are more often perceived as strategic advisors – not only driving cost savings but delivering value to the business through streamlined purchasing processes, supply chain innovations, risk mitigation, and sustainability and diversity initiatives – to name but a few.

Nevertheless, some stereotypes prevail and in several organisations there is still a lack of awareness and understanding about the purpose procurement serves. By opting for a singular, consistent job title across the profession, procurement may command more authority and respect.

2. It will reduce confusion

Procurement-related jobs titles range from buyer, purchaser, and supplier relationship manager, to procurement officer, resourcing lead, and vendor manager.

As Paul points out, these varied and often inconsistent job titles disguise the fact that each of these roles falls within the same profession. This often serves to further confuse the people procurement work alongside.

3. It will provide clarity on the number of procurement professionals in Australia

The more people that are recorded as procurement professionals in this census, the greater the recognition for the function. At present, the total number of procurement professionals in Australia is unknown, but it would be useful to have a better indication of the profession’s influence and size and establish how much of the workforce consider themselves to be part of the procurement profession.

“The National Census Aug 2011 revealed that 68,500 people had “procurement” within their job title in Australia,” notes PASA’s CEO Jonathan Dutton. “And you’d likely need to add on a few more for Category Managers and similar non-procurement job titles. But the big unknown is the public sector. State governments, in particular, have many employees who hold ‘delegate’ status and can spend money, but how many of them are there? And where do you draw the line to define these employees as procurement people?”  CAPS research estimates that supply management personnel account for 1.5% of all company employees.

How procurement professionals should respond to occupation-related census questions

Paul has developed this handy infographic to advise procurement professionals on how best to respond to occupation-related census questions.

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