New Survey Shows How Procurement Professionals are Taking Charge of Their Careers

November 2, 2017

Last week, we wrote about APICS’ survey of millennials in the Supply Chain industry. We delved into some of the survey’s insights about the way the field is changing, and the way that millennials’ Supply Chain careers are taking flight. Some of the most interesting findings:

  • Fewer people are “falling into” Supply Chain as a career, with more pursuing formal education in the field.
  • Millennials report a high level of satisfaction with the career, as well as an intention to develop long-term within their current roles despite their “job hopper” reputation.
  • The gender pay gap that exists across the wider economy also persists within Supply Chain, though the pay gap has narrowed as the field has become more diverse.

For a recruitment agency interested in the intersection of talent development and the Supply Chain industry, APICS’ survey was catnip to us at Argentus. Now, hot on the heels of that survey comes another, similar major survey of the Procurement field – a crucial subdiscipline within the wider function of Supply Chain Management, and one that’s going through some pretty big changes in its own right.

The survey was conducted by Procurious, the social networking site for Procurement professionals (a site that’s totally worth checking out, full of great discussions and interesting opportunities for professional development). Titled “Welcome to Procurement’s Gen NEXT,” the survey asked a bunch of career-related questions to a set of Procurement professionals from around the world (mostly in the U.S., U.K., Australia), and from a variety of industries (with an emphasis on government, high tech, utilities, and manufacturing). While the survey’s largest cohort is millennial employees, its focus is on professionals at all age levels who have chosen to take a “proactive” approach to their careers.

The findings for this Procurement-focused survey were different from APICS’ survey – perhaps owing to the greater diversity in the ages of the survey respondents, as well as the fact that it was focused only on Procurement rather than the wider Supply Chain industry. But while the survey results were different, they were no less interesting. They focused on a number of key career drivers for Procurement and examined what is motivating today’s professionals in the field.

Here are some of the big takeaways, at least from our perspective:

  • Of interest to us at Argentus, the survey asked about how Procurement professionals found their current jobs: 23% found their jobs through recruiters, 31% through networking, 20% through an internal job opportunity, 20% through job boards, and 6% through social media. While 20% seems high for job boards – based on our voluminous anecdotal conversations with people who apply via job boards and never hear anything back – it’s interesting to see the importance of both networking and recruiters to people finding Procurement jobs.
  • The survey asked Procurement professionals to identify what’s holding them back in their careers. 15% indicated a lack of adequate mentorship, 21% pointed to a lack of a career champion, 23% said that their organizational structure was too flat, and only 14% indicated that there was a lack of jobs in the market – among the other responses.
  • 71% of those surveyed had clear career goals for either the near or long term, while 29% said their career goals were either “vague” or “nonexistent.”
  • A staggering 97% of Procurement professionals believed that networking was valuable for career development – making us believe that the gospel of networking is holding up just fine. The Procurement professionals surveyed also believed that the sophistication of their network was just as valuable as their job performance in securing their next opportunity.
  • 87% believed that online social networks were important for their career advancement, continuing what we’ve preached for quite a while – that social media is eclipsing the resume in career importance.
  • 38% of Procurement professionals surveyed indicated that they were likely to leave their organization within the next 2 years. 34% said that they were likely to leave within the next 2-5 years, and 17% said they thought they would leave within the next 5-10 years. Procurious chalks this up to companies’ employee retention problems. Which might be the case. But it might also just be changing expectations around the loyalty that employees have to companies, and the fact that the workforce is becoming more mobile and more interested in shorter-term assignments.
  • On that note, 9% of Procurement professionals are working independently on contract. Given the volume of contingent Procurement roles we’re seeing in our recruitment practice at Argentus, we’d honestly expect this number to be higher, but the levels of contingent staffing might vary around the globe.

We encourage everyone in our network to check out the report – it goes into some interesting detail about how Procurement professionals are using social media to bolster their careers. We also encourage all those Procurement pros reading this to sign up for Procurious. It’s great to see a next-level social media destination for the field – it should truly make us Procurement people feel spoiled. 



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