Experienced buyers sought to fill SA purchasing jobs

27 August 2010

29 August 2010 | Paul Snell

Employers are placing greater importance on skills and experience when searching for buyers as the market for purchasing jobs in South Africa recovers from the recession.

Consultants told SM the number of opportunities is increasing, but companies are more selective because of the amount of people looking for work.

“There are a number of job seekers on the market which means companies can be very selective when choosing talent for their procurement teams,” said Debbie van Laar, director at procurement consultancy and recruiter PSA Group.

“Unfortunately for job seekers, organisations are increasingly looking to recruit individuals who have deep procurement, as opposed to generalist, experience.”

Coupled with this is the paucity of skilled professionals available. “I don’t see any real increase in the number of skilled professionals in the job market,” added Elaine Porteus, an independent procurement consultant. “The people with the highest level of skill and the most experience are staying put.”

But according to Andrew Hillman, managing director at consultancy Bespoke Sourcing Solutions, companies have been able to avoid pressure on pay because of demand for positions from candidates. “Salaries have stabilised at those levels being offered just before the recession, and if people are too expensive they are not being offered the job.”

Financial services and the public, energy and mining sectors are all cited as looking for buyers.

Consultants expect the growth in roles to continue into next year, and anecdotally report that companies appear more willing to hire new staff with specialist expertise than train existing employees.

“[Employers] are looking for staff that are more strategically minded so procurement can make a real impact on an organisation’s cost base,” said van Laar.


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