CPOs search for international purchasing talent

8 March 2013
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8 March 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Global businesses are relocating senior buyers internationally and recruiting across the world to take advantage of new purchasing skills, according to CPOs at the Procurement Talent event in London this week.

Stephen Pearce, global head of procurement at chemical company Arysta LifeScience who is based in the UK, said: “I have found that people have an expectation that somewhere in senior management there is a Brit – this is a good thing. But I am seeing more top purchasing roles moving to Asia and there is a lot of African investment from China.” Pearce said that his company recruits talent through acquisitions, most recently in Mozambique and Russia.

Ashley Readshaw, chief procurement officer at AstraZeneca said: “We don’t see the UK in any special way because we are global. We are investing in areas such as Shanghai where our skills set is low. We are still not as diverse as we would like to be, we don’t have enough people who represent our patients in the decision-making process.”

Chris Taylor, talent acquisition manager at SABMiller, said relocating staff internationally is beneficial to gain new skills, but the company will only do this for senior roles. “It costs two and half times the salary to relocate someone, so we won’t do it for managerial positions and below. If someone wants to move to forward their career we will put them on a regional contract not an expat one,” he told the audience.

Taylor added SABMiller is after “global experts”, as its strategic sourcing team is based in Switzerland. The social network LinkedIn has driven 70 per cent of the company’s recruitment.

Andrew Croston, CPO at Fujitsu, said: “If you are in the top team you can choose where you work from.” Fujitsu is about to begin an induction process as it has recruited staff from Japan. Croston said it is “vital” to have cultural training courses for international staff.

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