14 March 2002 | David Arminas
Purchasers' salaries are continuing to rise, with assistant buyers averaging a 13.4 per cent increase, according to the latest survey from Purcon.
The average wage for a buyer is now £36,452, and the average percentage rise for all staff was 8.6 per cent in the year to March.
The rise was up slightly on the year-to-year increase of 8.4 per cent in March 2001.
The upward trend appears to be continuing, despite downward pressures on the economy following 11 September.
Settlements in the economy as a whole are averaging 1.9 per cent, according to National Statistics. Pay in manufacturing has risen by 2.3 per cent and services by 1.7 per cent.
But some sectors including hotels and the media have seen pay freezes, says independent research organisation Incomes Data Services.
Jerry Smith, the director of Purcon, said procurement departments had generally escaped major redundancies because chief executives increasingly understood their value.
"In the past two years especially, we have seen a lot of organisations still recruiting top- performing purchasers and there are relatively few of them around, so pay remains high," Smith told SM.
"Pay at the extreme ends of the procurement structure are often the most volatile, but we shall be monitoring the trend.
"Nonetheless, it is a good time for people to get into purchasing at the bottom end, and the wages reflect the use of higher graduate introductory pay packets," Smith told SM.
By job description, the highest increase was for assistant buyer, which rose to 13.4 per cent to reach £19,928.
Purchasing directors are seeing a dramatic slowdown in their salary increases, according to Purcon's six-monthly survey. A year ago, their pay went up by 13.4 per cent. This year, they had the lowest rise, at 4.5 per cent.
By regions, the largest increase was for the south west with 10.3 per cent, followed closely by the midlands at 10.2 per cent.