Market Analysis Of The Procurement Consultancy Sector

Market Analysis Of The Procurement Consultancy Sector

Here’s an excerpt from our Procurement Quarterly Market Update for the second quarter of 2015 which addresses recruitment market trends and the availability of skills in the consulting sector.

Procurement Consultancy

The picture in the consultancy space is not as bullish as in quarter one. It is somewhat mixed as some niche areas (spend management) are doing well but many others are either static or struggling to win new deals and hence we have seen a number of examples of organisations pulling back on previous expansion plans.

Most consultancies are still recruiting but not at the rate anticipated or merely to cover leavers  or to backfill promotions. The picture varies according to each organisation’s project pipeline and this can change week by week currently. This is impacting on recruitment as candidates become nervous when recruitment drives are delayed or even cancelled.

Much of the new project work being awarded centres around technology led procurement transformation and many of these organisations are successfully ‘on-selling’ other services. In our view organisations not offering access to a technology solution seem to be at a disadvantage in the current market

The larger outsourcing deals appear to be less in number as many CPO’s or senior Procurement Leaders have indicated to us that they are focusing on ‘targeted help or consultancy on specific areas of spend or to speed up specific projects’ This implies they want to retain full control and don’t want to commit to the costs or risks of a long term outsource unless there is a long standing relationship or a specific business problem beyond the in-house capabilities.

Some organisations are in effect running transformation projects internally by carefully utilising interims directly instead of ‘outsourcing’. However there remains a shortage of experienced consultants with the requisite skill set to deliver major transformation projects in procurement and supply chain at senior levels.

An increasing trend that we have reported before is the shortage of junior level consultancy candidates with 2-3 years experience. Many consultancies are increasingly delivering projects via a tiered delivery model with good junior people increasingly being used to support senior people on-site from day one. Therefore they can only consider those with existing client facing skills and experience as they cannot risk putting those without this straight into this environment. This increasing demand means salary rates for these levels are becoming increasingly inflated as competition for good candidates becomes more intense.

As an example we are finding that good junior people with 2-4 years experience can command a base salary of £45-50k for a move to another consultancy. There are examples of individuals with only 3 years experience being offered £55k to move to some of the smaller niche consultancies. This we think will cause increasing problems for the bigger players or those organisations with strictly controlled salary and career bands who are unable to flex.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please contact Peter Brophy.



Spend Matters Article – Clarity and Expectations in Recruitment (Part 2)

Spend Matters Article – Clarity and Expectations in Recruitment (Part 2)

This article was published on on 3rd December.

We are delighted to bring you the second part of a first-hand look into The Chasm Separating Companies from Good Candidates from Peter Brophy at Edbury Daley. Yesterday he talked about expectations of new roles or new recruits.

How we treat people through the recruitment process

In recent years many organisations have invested heavily in creating talent pools or have used agencies to source ‘difficult to find’ candidates at short notice but rarely then consider what happens once the candidate has been approached and enters the ‘assessment phase.’

In the current market many candidates complain of roles not materialising or long delays in the process and often question whether a role was real in the first place or was a benchmarking exercise against existing internal candidates.

Candidates’ perception of an organisation’s brand is often negatively impacted by their recruitment experience. To understand, Edbury Daley has recently instigated some timely research to investigate this by gaining feedback from candidates to a ‘typical’ corporate recruitment process – you can see the survey here. Once this research is complete we will publish and share it, so watch out for a further post.

The negative impact on your brand perception caused by poor processes or lack of feedback or poor communication should not be underestimated; candidates are potential clients or customers. They also talk to each other about their experiences so word gets around the market.

The challenge is that often recruitment has been re-organised during the recession to focus on transactional metrics such as time to hire and cost per hire to fill headcount slots quickly rather than consider the value that securing a better candidate could bring or the cost of getting it wrong (both hard to measure).

Now as the market improves good candidates are actively choosing roles based on their recruitment experience as much as the role itself or the organisation. To many candidates, their actual experience quite correctly is of the organisation in reality, in action, and laid bare, rather than the generic snappy careers site’s words about engagement, opportunities and being a great place to work.

As a job hunter myself earlier in the year I often found that the standard of service and communication from organisations was often poor and sporadic. It made me wonder what the reality is for many candidates at more junior levels?

The following are some personal examples I experienced:

  • An organisation took so long to recruit for a maternity cover role that in the end it wasn’t worth bringing someone in
  • Arriving for an 8am meeting to be told ‘something urgent’ had cropped up and only being able to meet with a more junior person. I could see the person in the office sat at their desk reading something. What annoyed me was not that this happened because these things do happen but if someone has put themselves out treat them with some respect. For me 30 seconds to say sorry and I would have been happy or at least understood. I didn’t go back.
  • Think carefully about who interviews and how prepared they are. I was interviewed on many occasions by more junior people or by people who weren’t prepared, so they didn’t know what to ask or fully understand the context. For some of the junior people I could have made it up as I went along whereas a more capable interviewer would spot any inconsistencies.
  • Lack of feedback – often poor and incomplete and I had to chase and chase on many occasions. If a candidate has taken half day to travel is it acceptable to be told very little specific feedback? If given the right feedback in full they are more likely to advocate your organisation to their network.

Many of these may only be small things but they add up, and if a candidate has no other option your process may still secure them, but increasingly you need the process to be quick, professional and to sell the organisation as well as let the candidate meet some key people.

As reported in our recent Quarterly Market Update the market is improving and good candidates are becoming increasingly harder to attract and hire so this is becoming increasingly critical for organisations to get right.

Your recruitment process needs to be well organised and to consider the candidates if you wish to source the best candidates and to ensure that those unsuccessful feel they have been fairly considered, met some good people who sold the organisation well and that they got some good feedback. –

See more at:

Spend Matters Article – Clarity and Expectations in Recruitment (Part 1)

Spend Matters Article – Clarity and Expectations in Recruitment (Part 1)

Here’s Peter Brophy’s  article which was published on on December 2nd.

The Chasm Separating Companies from Good Candidates

Following on from his recent article “Confessions of a Procurement Recruitment Specialist – An Insider’s Experience” part 1 and part 2, Peter Brophy of procurement recruitment firm Edbury Daley, highlights some areas where both organisations and the recruiters that represent them can improve the chances of finding the right candidate who has a good experience during the recruitment process.

Peter has been recruiting Procurement Professionals for over ten years; his experience spans a number of sectors including aerospace, engineering, manufacturing, professional services and corporate functions such as HR, finance as well as procurement. He is well placed to give us a first-hand view of the process.

There are two parts to this:

  • The expectations and specification of the role (the new recruit)
  • How we treat people during the process

We’ll discuss the first part here and follow up with the second tomorrow.

Expectations of new roles or new recruits

In my experience both as a recruiter and a candidate, job adverts and job specifications are increasingly described in terms that elevate each role to an incomprehensible level of unrealistic requirements. I call this the ‘superman requirement’ as only such a person could ever match the brief.

I wonder whether anyone is taking a reality check on this as it deters many capable people from applying. Yes we need to sell a job to a candidate but I advise that we reflect on the day-to-day aspects of the job not just what we would like it to be – yes be realistic and use plain English that is understood by those outside the organisation.

Ask: does such a perfect person does exist? Can we really recruit someone who meets all of our requirements at the salary level we can afford? Or worse, do you recruit a person who knows the key words and phrases rather than the best person who isn’t as good at selling themselves?

This is a problem most recruiters know too well and when we do find this ‘superman’ candidate they often tend to be looking for a role and salary at the next level. In my experience most people move from a company to get additional responsibility and development. They rarely move to something which repeats their current role (other than after redundancy) unless there is a salary increase, so if you recruit externally it is likely to cost you more than you would benchmark it internally.

Additionally another problem of over specifying a role results in someone being recruited who has unrealistic expectations which will not be met. What happens? They get bored and de-motivated and leave and you have to recruit again!

We all fall into the trap of making jobs sounds exciting and with great career progression but with flat organisations more the norm, then clearly this isn’t going to be possible for all your staff and will impact on turnover and morale.

We promise something that doesn’t exist … –

See more at:

How Do Recruitment Processes Impact On The Battle For Procurement Talent?

How Do Recruitment Processes Impact On The Battle For Procurement Talent?

At Edbury Daley we are instigating some timely new research on the choice of recruitment and selection methods and the impact of those choices on the success rate of a getting  quality recruits in to a hiring business.

As the global economy recovers many companies are pursuing significant growth plans. Often, the key constraining factor is the ability to hire and retain the skills and expertise needed. Employer Branding and Talent Communities are becoming the new parlance of Human Resource Management as bigger corporations embrace the advent of social media to gain an advantage in finding the people they need. This is covered in some detail in a very interesting recent study by Deloitte.

The creation of talent pipelines and new employee engagement techniques are pushing the boundaries of traditional recruitment practice but their success is reliant on the conversion of the initial engagement in to a hire. In other words, they only bring candidates to the start line of the selection process. How a company interacts from this point onwards determines whether the candidate ever crosses the finish line and joins the hiring company.  Our survey is designed to investigate this second stage of recruitment process.

Candidate facing, the questions have been written to test attitudes and experience towards the mechanics of a typical corporate recruitment process. With companies investing heavily in cutting edge talent attraction strategies, this survey is about what happens next; how candidates respond to companies’ selection procedures.

To complete the survey simply think only of your experiences and responses as a candidate. There are just twelve carefully designed multiple choice questions.

The data gathered will be used to formulate a robust framework for a recruitment process which all corporate organisations can use as a benchmark for best practice. As a participant you will automatically have the chance to win one of three free career consultations with Peter Brophy, a qualified HR professional and one of our Directors.

The survey features twelve multiple choice questions and will only take a short time to complete.  The questions are here:

How Do Recruitment Processes Impact On The Battle For Procurement Talent?

If you are a hiring manager you can request a copy of our analysis by e mailing Andrew Daley at

If you would like to discuss any aspect of recruitment best practice, please contact the author of this survey, Simon Edbury via


Peter Brophy Joins Edbury Daley

We are delighted to announce the addition of Peter Brophy to our senior management team at Edbury Daley.

Peter joins us as an Associate Director and offers an outstanding track record having spent the last five years leading recruitment at procurement outsourcer Proxima.  His in-house recruitment background gives him a uniquely different approach to talent attraction, blending expertise in best practice recruitment techniques and methodologies with a full understanding of the latest practices in talent identification and candidate sourcing.

He has more than eighteen years’ recruitment experience spanning a number of sectors including aerospace engineering, manufacturing, professional services and corporate functions such as HR, finance and procurement. As a result he has an extensive network of contacts and a strong track record in mid to senior level appointments, most recently in procurement.

Peter’s approach to recruitment is a natural fit for Edbury Daley. He focuses on direct and consultative relationships, balancing a sound intellectual grasp of the broader business influences on recruitment needs and decisions with a strong understanding of the core skills and competencies needed, to find the best quality candidates for clients.

Peter is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management , as well as a degree in Geography.  Outside of work he has two teenage sons, is a long-suffering Newcastle United supporter and is a keen walker.