2016 began in much the same vein as 2015 ended with significant demand for highly skilled highly commercial Procurement & Supply Chain professionals across most parts of the Industrial Markets. Automotive, Aerospace and Rail Manufacturing have proven to be particularly strong while Oil and Gas remain challenging.

Talent attraction and retention

There has been a steady increase in candidates making career moves as the demand for high performing talent remains elevated. While most of this movement is in the salary banding of £30,000-£50,000, there is increased confidence in senior management and director level positions where there have been some significant moves.
As organisations become more aggressive in the recruitment of Generation Y candidates they are having to adapt to more agile working environments and a greater flow of international demands. Those individuals in highly sought after roles are finding the prospect of a move especially appealing as they can significantly improve both salary and position.
The top five job types sought after by employers:
  1. NPI/ Project/Engineering Buyer: Commercial skills can be learnt but there is a shortage of candidates with a marriage of engineering understanding and commercial ability.
  2. Demand/Forecast/S&OP Manager: organisations are becoming more aware they can drive efficiencies and run lower inventory levels if they give a more accurate demand and a reliable forecast.
  3. Senior Buyer: There is a real demand for senior buyers across all manufacturing sectors. High calibre active candidates can often achieve multiple offers once they make the decision to move organisations.
  4. Supply Chain Manager: the majority of the automotive market is based in the Midlands, with the remaining NW talent being attracted to either JLR or outside the sector.
  5. Head of Function: Business leaders in the procurement and supply chain space are in high demand. The areas of strategic vision and operational delivery are most in demand.
Demand planning against recruitment needs, early engagement and a willingness to differentiate the employment offering, is becoming more important with what to date, have been strong market conditions. It is becoming more important to partner with recruitment experts in the procurement and supply chain space to gather an understanding of market dynamics, the competition for talent and how to secure the best talent, especially as the candidate population is becoming more aware of their market value. 
Shortages in the candidate market (especially in the buyer/senior buyer and senior planner skills sets) mean the candidate population is more selective in their choice for a prospective employer. As ever the household brands have an immediate advantage and attraction quality that SME organisations need to compete with. We recommend reducing the time to hire through a thorough and planned recruitment process; flexibility in the selection process and being able to sell the benefits of your organisation. Outside of remuneration packages how do you differentiate your offering to the candidate population? What benefits and longer-term career progression can you offer, and crucially to secure the talent, how can you expedite the process from engagement through to offer stage?

Candidate trends in the current market 

With the competition for high calibre candidates increasing and a general shortage of candidates across the industrial supply chain markets, there has been a particular trend for counter offers and retention planning being more prevalent. Approximately 75% of candidates who receive a new job offer and resign their current positions are subsequently counter offered by their current employers. These counter offers are not always 100% financial but can incorporate a better work-life balance, agile working, career progression and educational and professional career enhancement, often in conjunction with a financial incentive. This ongoing trend serves to highlight the challenge of not only identifying and attracting the right talent but also having the right information, process and proposition to secure them. Partnering with a professional consultant will mitigate the risk of a counter offer. 
While this cannot always guarantee success, especially if a candidate's motivations are purely financial, it can help in reducing the risk and give new employers the transparency and options to secure success above and beyond any specific individual. 
In simplistic terms, the predominant drivers for making career moves continue to be the ability to have an impact in the role, progression, financial reward and personal development. July 2015 saw the launch of our Salary Comparison Tool which can help with managing the risk of losing talent based on salary. The data for this resource is updated on a quarterly basis using actual salary data making it the most comprehensive and up-to-date salary comparison tool in the market today. This online tool uses actual placement data to allow employers to benchmark the salaries they’re offering. 
For more tailored information in your local market, please contact one of our consultants. Each consultant has specialised sector and location specific knowledge.

Alternative options to secure talent

PageGroup recently ran an in-depth campaign with a CPO to secure a whole new team. Typically the business had only hired candidates from within its own sector but were struggling with a volume campaign. With the client's agreement, we took a different approach benchmarking the clients existing high flyers to identify the attributes that make them successful.  For this identification process, these attributes were then deemed more important than the traditional selection criteria of education and sector/category experience. Once identified, these candidates then attended a full onsite assessment day to identify their suitability. The result was the successful appointment of candidates who typically would not have been considered due to a lack of sector knowledge. With the war to attract the best talent in challenging situations, we recommend looking outside the norm and exploring other avenues to success. Supply chain and procurement candidates work in all sectors and areas of the manufacturing chain. Keep an open mind when exploring options and don’t discount anyone as you may miss out on the best talent. For more information on this case study please visit our article, “Finding talent that whispers”.

Looking ahead

With a typical peak in September/October in the appointment of candidates, consider what you need to do now to ensure that you are the employer of choice and ensure you choose the right partner. With 40 years of experience, science and expertise in the recruitment markets PageGroup are able to add value, specialist market insight and ultimately deliver on time in full.
Are you looking to take the next step in your procurement and supply chain career? Are you looking to hire talent? Or are you simply looking for some further advice in the current recruitment market? Feel free to contact Rob Turner, Business Director: 0121 230 9358 / [email protected].