Employers seek buyers with networking skills

11 November 2011

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11 November 2011 | Angeline Albert

Stakeholder engagement is the focus of procurement functions, second only to cost savings, according to recruitment firm Barclay Meade.

The recruiter’s client survey of 120 purchasers revealed the majority (59 per cent) are concentrating on stakeholder engagement and are keen to employ staff with great networking skills.

Russell Soan, associate director of procurement and supply chain at Barclay Meade, said: “One of the key interpersonal skills for many employers is effective relationship building and the ability to engage stakeholders at all levels of an organisation.”

One procurement manager interviewed for the study said a successful buyer networks successfully, not only from an external perspective but also within the organisation he or she is working for. 

Purchasing staff surveyed in September and October said the emphasis on stakeholder engagement was trumped only by their function’s need to deliver savings. Eighty per cent stated cost savings as the priority. Supply chain management ranked in third place (52 per cent), followed by category management (47 per cent), supplier development (42 per cent), supplier quality (41 per cent) and rationalisation of the supply base was highlighted by 36 per cent.    

Barclay Meade’s research also revealed that more than half (55 per cent) of purchasers have transferred from another profession to a procurement career. The company said the ability to demonstrate transferable skills was important for employers who are seeking “well-rounded and commercially aware” candidates. A mixture of strong networking skills combined with commercial acumen was on the wish-list of procurement employers.


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