What did 225,000 conversations with procurement and supply chain professionals reveal?

In the UK, Michael Page’s procurement and supply chain division has 17 teams of specialist consultants based in 13 offices. Last year this extensive network placed over 1800 purchasing and supply chain professionals in interim and permanent roles, for organisations ranging from global multinationals to local SME’s. The data gathered from this work is used to continually update our online salary comparison tool which can be used to search via job type, location and sector. In the last 12 months the data shows that we have an average salary increase of 6%, indicating that demand for talent continues to outstrip supply.
During the last 12 months we have had over 225,000 conversations with procurement and supply chain professionals, providing a unique insight into our sector. We believe that sharing the reoccurring themes can add value to the ongoing challenge of securing and retaining the best procurement and supply chain talent. 
Of the procurement and supply chain professionals, 50% have chosen the profession. Increasingly this means that a greater percentage of roles are filled by “Millennials/Generation Ys” who in addition to a competitive salary, look for roles where they can gain fulfilment and make a difference. They are the digitally savvy iPhone generation for whom an online and social media presence is important – they will check you out pre-interview! They require a greater level of working flexibility, often linked to the opportunity of remote working afforded by the digital world that they are part of. Millennials/Generation Ys want to buy into what their employer stands for, know where the business is heading and what sort of people work there. It’s important to them that their values and ideals will be matched by a potential employer and increasingly, when preparing candidates for interview, we are asked detailed questions about the working environment and the real culture of the business. 
Whilst salary remains the number one driver in moving to a new role, 90% of candidates state training and development, job content, career progression, company reputation and flexible working, as critical to their decision making process too. Millennials/Generation Ys do not define success as working at one company for their entire career. If they can’t “grow and develop professionally and personally” within their current organisation they see little or no stigma in moving externally. 
Of the 50% of procurement and supply chain professionals who did not choose the profession, two-thirds moved into procurement and supply chain roles from other disciplines. This means that one-third of the total population have transferred from other departments. So when recruiting externally how acceptable is it to review candidates who are not currently working in these roles? Should we be searching for future procurement and supply chain talent beyond the normal, accepted or traditional parameters? The case study, “Finding talent that whispers” focuses on a recent recruitment project and questions if traditional screening indirectly restricts diversity, and therefore the availability of real talent that could fit and add real value to your organisation.
With cautious but steady growth sustaining a talent driven market, which is increasingly supplied by a more transient population of Millennial/Generation Y talent, what are the drivers for identifying and retaining the best people?  Whilst salary levels remain critical what other factors are important? Can and should we be searching for ‘Talent that whispers’ if we accept that other professions/departments can and do provide the much sought after transferable skills, which can then be supported with specific technical training?


Successful procurement and supply chain capability is all encompassing, interacting with a wide range of departments and professions. Millennials/Generation Ys react well to a more rounded approach, money remains important but we can influence many of the other key criteria to attract and maintain the best talent.      
Rob Bales
T: +44 121 230 9381
M: +447919593128