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Michael Page Buying and Merchandising

Outlook for 2012: jobs in buying and merchandising

The economic upheaval over the last few years has changed the face of candidate supply and job demand in most industries - this is particularly evident within the buying and merchandising sector in the UK.

Buying and merchandising has historically been a candidate driven market. But 2012 sees more candidates than available jobs, across the board. This is as a result of the influx of candidates into the market as a result of redundancies, down-sizing and headcount freezes.

Hiring managers are less inclined to make hasty hires, and the expectation is that candidates will be able to ‘hit the ground running' and add value to the bottom line from day one. Employers can afford to be fussy and wait to offer the job to the candidate with a spot-on skill set.

Despite what may initially sound like a downbeat assessment of the market, 2012 is a much improved environment in which to be a job seeker when the previous couple of years are taken into account. As the market has recovered retailers, wholesalers and import businesses are looking to gain market share and increase profits - this can only be achieved by attracting and retaining the right talent. This has in many cases ensured that the fight for talent is as strong as ever.

Skills in demand

High calibre candidates who have excelled within their functional area or industry are always sought after, but the specific areas of demand include:

  • E-tail professionals across all sectors
  • Merchandisers across all sectors
  • Experienced buyers with specialised product or sourcing knowledge
  • Candidates willing to relocate UK-wide

Who are hiring managers looking for?

When looking to recruit a buying or merchandising professional, our clients tend to expect the following:

  • Evidence of adding value - ensure that your achievements are immediately evident on your CV and presented in a way in which your input is quantifiable.
  • Ideally, similar product experience with a direct competitor or relevant consumer base.
  • For permanent hires, a track record of progressive achievement without ‘job-hopping'.
  • For interim hires, evidence of change management and trouble-shooting skills.

The counter-offer

If you have the requisite mix of the required skills and stability and progression within an organisation then it is likely that you are in high demand as a candidate, which often means that your current company will try to retain you rather than see you leave to a competitor.

A counter-offer can be lucrative in earnings or progression terms, but there a few points to consider when staying with your original employer:

  • If you are worth your increased salary or responsibilities, why wasn't this recognised before you were offered another role?
  • If you are fulfilled in your role or organisation, why did you choose to look at new opportunities?
  • In our experience, unless salary was the sole purpose for looking at new opportunities, counter offers are rarely the answer. In actual fact most people who accept them find themselves looking again within a few months as their situation has not changed.
  • The additional challenge once you have accepted a counter-offer is that you may be over paid compared to the market rate for your level of experience, making an external move challenging.

For more information on how we can help you secure your next buying, merchandising or e-tail role, please get in touch with your local Michael Page Buying & Merchandising team.

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