Here’s an excerpt from our Procurement Quarterly Market Update for the second quarter of 2015.

The second quarter of the year brought a UK general election and further concern about the economic stability of the Eurozone. At Edbury Daley, we saw a drop in the number of new procurement vacancies coming to the market prior to the election. With opinion polls predicting a hung parliament and political commentators speculating on which parties would be capable of striking a marriage of convenience to create a majority, uncertainty was rife in the business world.

For many businesses that uncertainty manifested itself in delayed hiring decisions with positions pulled or postponed. The unexpected Conservative majority provided a considerable boost to business confidence but also introduced the prospect of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. For those businesses reliant on trade across EU member states a new uncertainty was created by the Conservative manifesto.

The wider economic landscape had a filtering effect on those business looking to hire. Those truly committed to expansion still went ahead and searched the market for the procurement people they needed. The more tentative recruiters drew back and waited. The impact at Edbury Daley was a surge in conversion from job instruction to placement.

Those businesses which still hired enjoyed the benefit of a window of opportunity whereby the strongest candidates briefly had slightly fewer potential career moves to choose from. Coupled with our advice on salary and talent attraction they were able to strengthen their procurement team during Q2.

The more tentative recruiters made little progress with sluggish recruitment processes and weak financial offers to the strongest candidates leading to offer rejection. The candidate market proved too competitive for those businesses unable to adapt to changing conditions and many still have unfilled vacancies that are months old. Specifically, these business recruitment processes’ were too cumbersome with excessive timescales and too many interview stages which results in a poor candidate experience. Several also suffered from wider company issues such as hiring freezes and changing corporate goals.

To address this issue directly, Edbury Daley conducted a survey amongst one hundred procurement professionals gauging their response to various components to a typical corporate recruitment process. Using the results as a basis for best practice, we have advised a number of clients who have been agile enough to implement a number of changes to improve their time to hire. You can see the results here. Procurement leaders who had endured multiple offers and rejections over the past six months are now getting the people they need in to the team.

The overall picture remains that the very best performers in procurement are hard to attract away from their existing employers. Post recession, businesses are more willing to provide basic salary increases and bonus payments to their best people. In addition, we are witnessing an increase in the counter offer on resignation. This last ditch attempt by the current employer is often too late to prevent the valued member of the team leaving but is a clear indication of the perceived difficulty of recruiting a high quality replacement. This trend is seen in the wider jobs market:

“our own survey indicates that three-quarters of organisations have struggled with recruitment challenges in the last year, particularly when filling skilled or niche roles” Mark Beatson, Chief Economist at the CIPD

If you would like to receive a copy of the full report please contact Simon Edbury via simon@edburydaley.com