38 Collingwood Street, Collingwood Buildings, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1JF
- Specialism: Procurement, Project Management, Change & Transformation and IT
- Sector: Public Sector
- Roles: Permanent, contract, temporary and interim
- Location: North East
Type a day in the life of sellick from Kate Litka
In England, a record 27.9 percent of the 18 year old population were accepted to university through UCAS in 2018, making our graduate talent pool bigger than any. But why is Procurement still struggling to attract graduates into the sector? In this blog, Principal Consultant Adam Burgess looks at the benefits of choosing a career in procurement and why more young people should consider it as a viable career option. Procurement as a profession is often overlooked by graduates due to a lack of knowledge about the sector which is causing a talent shortage, especially at the junior end of the market. Graduates tend to overlook procurement jobs in favour of sectors they have more knowledge about or they deem to be more exciting. Our clients often tell us that they struggle to attract keen graduates to the procurement sector which is causing a talent shortage, especially at entry level. We spoke to a number of our clients and candidates to get their thoughts on why more young people should consider procurement as a career. What is procurement and why is it so important? In simple terms procurement is the act of acquiring something for business purposes. This can cover a range of requirements including services, skills, supplies and assets for the business that enables it to operate in an ethical and profitable manner as well as the management of contracts and supplier relationships. Procurement is a vital part of any business and is responsible for up to 70 percent of a company’s revenue as small reductions in costs can have a large impact on profits. Why should graduates choose a job in procurement? Graduates who are looking for a role that can offer quick progression in a sector that has numerous opportunities should consider procurement. With the current state of the market and the lack of talent to fill procurement jobs across the UK, the opportunities are very positive and very exciting. If you decide to enter this sector you could progress quickly! The procurement sector has also advanced in recent years. Procurement leaders are now at the forefront of transformational change. Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and their teams are now an integral part of many businesses and are commonly seen in boardrooms helping with the strategic direction of a company, making the role incredibly varied, fast paced and exciting. So, if you are an ambitious graduate looking for a challenge, this is a great career option for you. Are you a graduate looking for variety in your career? The sheer variety of sectors that procurement interacts with makes it appealing for anyone looking for new challenges. Procurement gives you the opportunity to collaborate with individuals from various sectors, gaining a wealth of cross-industry experience, making the job incredibly varied. What career opportunities do procurement leaders have? Graduates looking for stability and security will see the career opportunities are endless within procurement. A fully qualified Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS) with the right amount of experience and achievements will be in high demand and rarely be out of work. A career in purchasing and supply management can offer you a variety of jobs in a number of different industries. There are also numerous areas of specialisation or category such as fleet, facilities, IT, Social Care as well as more generalist roles. Procurement job titles can range from Procurement Officer and Procurement Advisor to Strategic Category Manager and Procurement Specialist. As a Consultant who specialises in public and not-for-profit sectors, I know first-hand that the market, especially the North East, is very candidate led and a good quality candidate will not be on the market for long. There seems to be far more opportunities in the market than there are candidates. How can graduates become procurement specialists? Although there are a variety of routes into procurement, these days the majority of people that are entering the profession have been to university beforehand. As a result, procurement employers are looking for high-calibre graduates, often with either a specialist purchasing and supply degree or a more general business degree. Once in a role, many procurement professionals will find that their employer will encourage to them to sit the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) graduate diploma: a degree-level professional qualification. For those who have studied business-related degrees, there may be some exemptions from the CIPS qualification, but this will be assessed on application. More and more businesses are also introducing graduate training schemes so it is worth speaking with firms and finding out if this is something they offer and when the next intake of applicants might be. What additional qualifications do graduates need to work in procurement? Although not essential, our clients have told us that procurement industry qualifications are important and ensure that candidates are up-to-date with best practice and the latest professional standards. Procurement qualifications will set candidates apart and often help make career progression faster. In the UK, the CIPS qualification is the industry standard and is usually required for most procurement jobs. Candidates can work towards a CIPS qualification via online learning providers, making it fairly easy to get qualified at a pace that works for each individual candidate. It is also possible to complete this whilst working, so on the job training can also be an option within this sector. Typically candidates are required to complete their CIPS qualification then gain three years’ worth of experience in the field in order to gain full membership, allowing use of the title MCIPS. What salary and rewards should procurement leaders expect? It is very difficult to generalise on the subject of starting salaries, given that packages will differ greatly between one sector and another, and even between organisations within the same sector. However, at the lower end for a graduate we would estimate about £18,000, rising to £25,000 at the upper end. Generally this figure should progress to around £32,500 for middle management, jumping to £56,000 for senior management and £75,000 plus for director level No single role in procurement will ever be the same. The organisation you choose to work for will determine what goods and services will need to be bought, and will determine the types of candidate they require. In the early stages, the secret is to gain as much experience as possible in as many areas as possible in order to decide which area of procurement is most suitable. The most important point to remember is that in the purchasing field the potential for career progression is excellent, and the opportunities to carve out a successful and rewarding career are there for the taking for the right candidates. The candidates we speak to about our procurement jobs are always excited by the career opportunities in the sector. Get in touch with me today to find out if procurement is for you and start your journey to being a procurement specialist today!
Professional services is a particularly demanding sector, and it is great to see that there is a wealth of senior females coming through the ranks. JMW, Hill Dickinson and Slater & Gordon (formerly Pannone) are just some examples of companies that have high percentages of women at the upper echelons of their sector. However, with equal numbers of men and women now entering professional services I do wonder why this number still remains in the low 20s. Research states that women now occupy just 26 percent of all FTSE100 boardroom positions, making little progress from 23.5 percent in March 2015. I believe this small increase has been steered by a rise in well-qualified female talent graduating from universities and the advancement of effective diversity programmes making roles more attractive to females in professional services. However, more needs to be done to ensure women have the same opportunities as their ale counterparts to progress as their male counterparts. I believe the problem lies in the retention and promotion of women, or lack of in many cases, and as a result organisations are losing some of their best talent. This in turn means that the majority of Boards, Partners and senior leaders in professional services companies remain overwhelmingly male, particularly in larger firms. This could be down to women not being as motivated to stay at an organisation or progress to senior positions in favour of a better work/life balance. One of the main reasons for this is that women are still generally perceived as the primary carer for children and new born babies despite the introduction of shared parental leave in 2014. It was recently reported by the BBC that as little as two percent of all men have taken advantage of the policy citing an understanding of what is on offer, cultural barriers and financial penalties as barriers and often deterring parents from sharing parental leave. Whatever the reason, it worries me that this is still the case as the promotion and retention of women should no longer be perceived as simply a social issue. Business leaders recognise there is a clear business case for tackling barriers to equality, with research estimating that better engagement of women greatly benefits the UK economy. It is therefore surprising that more women are not achieving their full potential. Recent studies have suggested that this may be down to a lack of confidence with many women questioning their own ability to reach senior management positions. This could be the reason why large numbers of talented female professionals are continuing to settle for non-executive positions, and we must work harder to ensure all female professionals have the confidence and support to achieve their full potential. In my opinion this has to be done as early as possible, and I would advise the government to look at universities to help promote female role models and increase confidence prior to starting their career. Last year UCAS reported that young women are a third more likely to go to university than men and this could be the perfect platform for encouraging and promoting women in business. If businesses and lecturers worked closely together to promote strong female role models and give students access to inspirational stories I believe we could instil more women with the confidence to achieve their full potential and help reduce the gender gap once and for all across all industries and sectors. Are you interested in finding out more about the role of women in business? Check out our insights section for blogs from Sellick Partnership staff including Managing Director Jo Sellick.
The 2018 Golden Globes saw the nominees and attendees wearing all-black at the awards ceremony to protest against sexual harassment. The next day, the demonstration swept the headlines, highlighting how what you wear can make an impact beyond you looking great. Oprah Winfrey commented that the all black protest was a “powerful symbol of solidarity”. I found this event extremely interesting and made me examine the power clothes can have in business, and why dressing in business-wear for work can enhance your career. Last summer for the entire month of August, Sellick Partnership employees were permitted to attend work every day in ‘dress down’. It was as though we were on school holidays and could enjoy the novelty of not wearing our ‘uniforms’ every day. It was fascinating to hear different colleagues’ opinions on the dress down experiment. Whilst some commented that it was great for boosting morale, claiming it created a sense of relationship building amongst peers – some employees used it as an excuse to strike up conversation using what their colleague was wearing as a talking point. Others found it affected their mind set and attitude towards work. It is this psychological element of dressing in ‘business attire’ that has provoked me to explore the positive and negative impacts dressing down can have within the professional services workplace: It is one less decision to make in a morning We are already faced with hundreds of choices each day: from what to have for breakfast to which task on my to-do list should I do first. Every day – consciously or unconsciously – we have to make decisions. By eliminating the option to dress in “whatever you want” for work, we are effectively streamlining our day from the offset. Mind set and attitude It can be argued that dressing in business-wear increases productivity at work. Let’s say two employees turn up to work; one dresses in a tracksuit, the other in a suit. Whether or not we like to think of ourselves, studies show that around 80 percent of people evaluate other people’s appearance (survey by Allure.com). How you are dressed determines how you are addressed. The employee who dressed in the tracksuit on first glance can appear slack, whereas the employee who opted for the suit is likely to be perceived as having made an effort. From a mind-set perspective, studies show that the way we dress alters how we feel internally. In 2015, a study by Social Psychological and Personality Science asked participants to change into formal or casual clothing before taking cognitive tests. The results showed that those wearing the formal business attire increased abstract thinking (a crucial credential for creativity and decision-making). Making a statement The Golden Globes demonstration took the world by storm and so can you! The way you dress can increase feelings of power and authority, as demonstrated in the example above of the experience carried out by Social Psychological and Personality Science The “just in case…” scenario You never know when you will have to attend a spontaneous, unexpected meeting. Dressing smartly allows you to be prepared for anything the day throws at you. You are also more likely to feel confident in an important meeting with contacts you have not previously met if you are smartly presented in front of your clientele. The novelty of “dress down” Fridays The excitement of having a dress down day is removed when every day is dress down. Dress down days are a great way to boost morale. According to Love to Know, when people are dressed more casually – when workers across the entire workplace at all levels are wearing similar attire – they may be more likely to interact with people they wouldn't ordinarily feel comfortable approaching. It is easier to chat and share ideas with someone who is dressed similarly to you than with someone in more formal attire than you are wearing. This can lead to cultivating positive working relationships that will strengthen the overall team, and that's always a good thing for any business. You wouldn’t be in the best frame of mind to do a fitness class if you were wearing a tailored jacket. Likewise, many of my colleagues found that during last summer’s experiment, they felt psychologically more productive when wearing “traditional” business attire. In the words of Rachel Zoe, “style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak”. Dressing in business attire for work in a Professional Services office shows, in my opinion, a desire to be at work, and increases productivity and motivation amongst employees. To read more blogs from the team at Sellick Partnership check out the insights section of our website.