Australian gold rush for top buying skills

2 November 2006
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02 November 2006 | Anusha Bradley

Procurement is the fastest-growing business profession in Australia, but a skills shortage threatens the boom.

Jonathan Dutton, managing director of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply Australia (CIPSA), said it is growing at a rate of 35 per cent a year. The Australian government gives preferential treatment to purchasing and supply professionals seeking work visas.

Speaking at last month's CIPSA conference he said expanding Australian industries, such as mining, are driving demand. Mining firms in the west are so desperate for purchasers they are paying salaries 30-40 per cent higher than other industries in the rest of the country.Qualified UK and US purchasers are being enlisted to fill the gap.

Despite this, Antonia Macrides, director of recruitment firm Bomweb Search & Selection, warned there would be a medium-term skills shortage because firms failed to recruit and nurture homegrown talent.

British purchasers in Australia told SM the status of the profession was "five or six years" behind the UK.

Dutton said some sectors, such as logistics and distribution, are more developed because of the size of the country. Proximity to Asia also means firms have natural relationships with Asian suppliers which is beneficial.

Craig Lardner, group manager of supply management at BOC Group, and an Australian who has worked in the UK, said: "There is the same passion for success. They are energised but have not figured out how to get their hands on the steering wheel."

SMnov2006

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