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Hotspots of procurement skills in demand

In the 2019/20 financial year, 41% of employers intend to increase permanent purchasing and procurement staff levels, according to findings in our latest Hays Salary Guide.

The procurement market remains active across both the public and private sectors, with roles ranging from entry-level Contract Administrators through to Head of Procurement with leading global organisations. We expect this to continue in the second half of 2019, with hotspots of skills in demand emerging.

The first of these exists for Procurement Managers with a firm grasp on CSR policy to implement procurement reform. This is the result of organisations committing to environmental and social sustainability and working closely with strategic suppliers to
ensure the whole supply chain is dedicated to sustainability.

Procurement Specialists and Category Managers with experience enabling the supplier base to align with wider CSR objectives are also sought.

In addition, demand continues to be high for Category Managers with the ability to demonstrate their strategic foresight as teams revisit their sourcing strategies. Strong skills in market intelligence and spend analytics, as well as the ability to craft influential category plans, are in greatest demand.

Category Managers with relevant experience are also sought in Western Australia and Queensland’s resources and mining market. However, many people moved into other industries in recent years, leading to today’s shortage.

Category Managers with end-to-end tender experience are sought too.

Meanwhile, Category Managers with IT expertise are required as organisations create a digital strategy for procurement.

Procurement Officers, Procurement Specialists and Contract Managers with sourcing systems subject matter expertise and change management skills are also sought as organisations implement new procurement technology platforms to create process efficiencies in their S2C, S2P, P2P and contract management systems.

With considerable investment into infrastructure projects, the road, rail, renewable energy and wider supply chain industries are experiencing growth. Contract Administrators, Procurement Specialists and Commercial Managers are highly sought after, especially those who can manage high-value and complex tenders and contracts within a project delivery setting. Candidates with relevant industry experience are viewed favourably.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care is leading to demand for Contract Managers, Procurement Officers and Procurement Managers in aged care with a focus on government, process and policy, and improving reporting capabilities to ensure high compliance on goods and services contracts for auditing requirements.

Procurement Officers are required in the manufacturing industry, which also needs transactional support staff.

The IT and construction industries both seek specialist IT and construction Procurement Managers and Officers. These roles offer the opportunity to work on large sought after projects.

Senior Procurement Managers
 with a strategic rather than transactional focus are sought in response to restructures.

End-to-end procurement specialists are required. Candidates with a proven ability to run the full end-to-end process are sought as this allows for increased workforce adaptability and cost savings. Demand is greatest around service contracts rather than goods.

Candidates with Capital Expenditure (Capex) procurement experience and the ability to negotiate with large engineering and construction businesses on projects are sought too.

Buyers with oil and gas industry experience are needed, as are Contract Managers with resources and mining experience. When recruiting Contract Managers, employers look for candidates with relevant industry experience.

Focusing on industry experience, demand is greatest for procurement experts with professional services, ICT, construction and engineering backgrounds.

In the ACT, demand for procurement specialists is high across all sectors, but particularly for Commonwealth Government projects as most agencies have reached their fulltime employment caps. Demand is highest for candidates with experience who can support complex projects in contracts administration, procurement advice and end-to-end tenders. Those with technical ICT procurement experience and an understanding of outsourced managed service contracts are also needed.

Turning to the public sector, Procurement Managers remain in high demand in response to the number of major infrastructure projects. Procurement Officers are also sought to assist Procurement Managers. In both cases, employers want candidates with previous public sector procurement experience and an understanding of public sector processes.

ICT procurement experience continues to be extremely sought after in the public sector, with GITC/QITC experience a prerequisite for most roles.

In the ACT, temporary contractors across the APS5 and APS6 levels with prior experience providing procurement advice in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules or supporting or leading a tender process around service contracts are in greatest demand.

The machinery of government changes within the Victorian State Government and introduction of the Victorian Jobs and Skills Exchange has brought a level of uncertainty to the contract market. However, early analysis suggests minimal change for project-driven resourcing requirements, especially for Procurement Specialists and Leads, where the demand for strong commercial and project management skills is high. In addition, an increase in permanent and fixed-term positions across all levels and job categories is expected.

In Tasmania, the categorisation of business functions is now more common. Larger organisations are at various stages of developing their procurement function, which is stimulating demand for experienced Category Managers.

Across both the private and public sectors, soft skills are increasingly sought. Stakeholder management skills are valued as procurement becomes focused on customer service and providing value. So too is commercial acumen since procurement teams need to achieve commercial outcomes.

Salary trends

According to our FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, more procurement professionals will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for.

We found that 90% of employers will increase their procurement staff salaries in their next review, up from 87% who did so in their last review.

However, the value of these increases will fall. Almost two-thirds (65%) intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 57% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 4% of employers, down from 9%, intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%.

There are of course exceptions. The shortage of Category Managers with end-to-end tender experience has seen salaries increase to attract these candidates.

Salaries have also increased in the ACT at all levels, from Procurement Officers to Senior Procurement Specialists and Procurement Managers. This has been driven by the commerce and industry sector, which supplies into government through professional service firms, Defence outsourced partners and facilities management service providers, to name a few.

The mining, oil and gas industries are also active drivers of procurement vacancy activity, particularly in Queensland and Western Australia. Given demand, salaries have increased for Procurement Specialists and Category Specialists, although they have not returned to the record levels seen during the mining boom.

Jobseeker advice

When preparing your CV, include key achievements for each position. Focus on cost savings and stakeholder engagement, two abilities that employers value. Be prepared to talk about these achievements during job interviews with examples of your direct involvement.

Before a job interview, it is essential to prepare thoroughly. For example, if interviewing for a position as a Contract Manager, read any available policies that the company has published online. Demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to comprehend complex contracts as this indicates that you will be able to hit the ground running.

If you have the opportunity to gain experience in ICT procurement in any discipline, do so as it will stand you in good stead for the future.

In addition, the number of defence-related procurement roles is increasing. If you are therefore in a position to secure a Security clearance, it is advisable to do so.

If you are starting out in procurement, consider completing a degree as a high percentage of roles now require degree-qualified candidates.

If you are an aspiring CPO, our report The DNA of a CPO features advice from today’s leading CPOs on how they reached the top of their profession.

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