Procurement & supply chain professionals are high demand

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Recent research by Robert Walters highlights procurement and supply chain professionals as one of the top five roles in demand in Australia right now. So what is driving this demand and what does it mean for professionals in the procurement industry? 

Where have you witnessed the largest growth and why?

The contract market continues to grow in the procurement space specifically for procurement managers and officer roles. This has been driven by large Government contracts, including the NSW’s Government significant investment in transport and infrastructure projects such as the CBD Light Rail, upgrading of train stations and signalling systems, projects that will run until at least the end of 2018. 

There is greater emphasis on hiring people with the highest standards of data security in order to protect data and mitigate risk.

There is an increased demand for professionals with niche category management experience particularly in cyber security and software asset management. 

We have also seen an increase in BPO (Business Partner Outsourcing) such as IT and payroll and often this is transferred offshore. This requires management of the relationship between the offshore provider overseas and the business units on the ground in Australia, so candidates with experience in offshoring are in demand.

What will be the biggest impacts on the market in 2018 and how can professionals be skill ready?

The focus of procurement is shifting more to Indirect Procurement such as IT, travel and marketing as opposed to direct procurement associated with manufacturing. Strategic sourcing is becoming more of a focus as it can deliver major savings while also increasing customer numbers through better user experience, customer satisfaction and accessibility. 

Clients are increasingly looking for true specialists in a particular area of spend rather than generalists, with recent categories required to have dedicated management including MRO (maintenance, repair and operations), logistics and professional services. 

Sustainability continues to be a hot topic of conversation for clients as energy prices increase and many organisations look to move to solar power. In April this year, the International Standards Organisation introduced the ISO 20400 for sustainability which serves as a guide for organisations, particularly SMEs, as procurement has a significant impact due to its central governance role. Procurement functions are involved in defining requirements, scope of work agreements and purchase orders or contracts creating demand for very strong procurement analysts who are across identifying and forecasting market trends, recognising opportunities or risks being sought after by clients. 

We expect to see contract roles for procurement managers in high demand which has been prompted by an increase in day rates and has encouraged more professionals to stay in contract roles. This in turn is having an unrealistic impact on permanent salary expectations with professionals able to secure significantly higher remuneration in contract positions.

David Taylor is Manager of the Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics team at Robert Walters. He has 9 years’ experience in the procurement industry.

Read and watch Andrew Hanson Managing Director, Robert Walters New South Wales recently appearing on the TODAY show discussing the roles with strongest wage growth here.

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