10 February 2000 | Mark Whitehead
UK companies have been providing far too little purchasing and supply management training, a recruitment consultant has claimed.
The criticism, by David Adsley of specialist recruitment consultancy the BJD Group, follows survey results showing that only half of the respondent companies offered any training in the area.
Adsley said the lack of training was one of the factors leading to a current skills shortage for middle and senior-level purchasing and supply managers.
The survey, Recruitment Trends for Senior Management in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, revealed that most companies have found recruiting middle and higher-level purchasing and supply managers much more difficult in recent years.
More than two-thirds of the companies questioned in the first ever CIPS/BJD Group recruitment survey said that finding top-level managers was harder than five years ago, while more than half said the same of middle-ranking managers.
Adsley said: "The results show that the amount of training going on is very low. Companies ought to be paying more attention to providing good-quality training and professional career development, or things will only get worse."
Answered by nearly 500 companies in all areas of industry and commerce, the survey also found that pay in purchasing and supply was keeping pace with other management areas.
The highest-paid employees, according to information received on more than 1,500 remuneration packages, were purchasing directors, whose salaries averaged £73,285 a year, followed by supply chain directors, with an average salary of £67,147 a year.
Operations directors were paid an average of £66,444 a year and logistics directors £63,730 a year. At the lower end, buyers earned an average of £20,408 a year, with an average of £27,705 a year for senior buyers.
Carolyn Munton, CIPS's head of marketing and communications, said the growing complexity of management at senior levels was the main reason for the skills shortage.
"People need a much broader mix of skills than they did five years ago," she said. "There are a lot of people with very solid skills, but they increasingly need to have embraced an understanding of business in the wider context so that they can take a more strategic role in their organisations."
The survey found that nine out of 10 companies valued professional qualifications highly, while a third thought they were necessary.
Only 4 per cent of firms used the Internet for recruitment, but success rates were high - around 30 per cent for middle and senior managers and 50 per cent for trainee managers. Copies of the survey are available from Robert Anderson Marketing Services on 01544 388292, price £75 (£65 for CIPS members)