29 April 2004 | Andrew Golder
Purchasing salaries are rising because the economic recovery has made it possible for companies to reward their staff, according to the latest quarterly survey by recruitment consultancy Purcon (see chart below).
It found the average salary for all purchasers in the spring of 2004 was £36,679, a rise of £529 from £36,150 for the same period last year.
This was a quarterly rise of 0.6 per cent as salaries stood 1.5 per cent higher than at the same period last year.
The big winners were purchasing managers, who saw their salaries increase by 7.6 per cent to an average of £63,385.
Meanwhile, senior buyers saw their pay rise by only 3.6 per cent, to £32,150.
But not everyone received a pay rise. The losers were purchasing directors, who saw their pay fall on average by 11.1 per cent to £91,638.
Assistant buyers, too, saw their pay drop, by 3.6 per cent to about £18,910 a year.
Jerry Smith, director of Purcon, said he expected salaries to continue rising at a similar rate until the middle of next year.
"We are on a slow upward trend because if you look at things like recruitment and training, there is more confidence in the sector and the supply and demand relationship is tipping again," he said.
"We'll see a continuation of current trends, and in the next 12-18 months, another 1.5-2.5 per cent rise in salaries."
If the UK enjoyed very strong economic growth, he added, purchasers may see a return of the "6, 7 or even 8 per cent increases we saw two years ago".
"The level they were inflated to was a reflection of the work CIPS and other people did to make purchasing much more professional and there was strong demand for good staff."
The demand was still there, he said, but this greater degree of professionalism meant companies could draw on a pool of talent to fill vacancies, and did not need to throw money around to attract candidates.
Purchasers in the consumer products sector received an average of 18.8 per cent of their salary as a bonus on top of their pay - the highest for any sector.
Those in the chemicals/petroleum industries came bottom, getting just 10 per cent of their salary as a bonus.