42: The age procurement professionals reach the top

6 November 2013

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6 November 2013 | Will Green

Research has identified an “ambitious new breed” of buyer among FTSE 350 firms who has reached the level of CPO at the age of 35.

A study carried out by Wax Digital found the average age at which a buyer became a CPO at FTSE 350 companies was 42, but some had reached the position seven years earlier.

The oldest to reach the position was 53, while the average age of all CPOs was 46, compared to the average age of 58 of a general FTSE 350 director.

The research, involving telephone interviews and LinkedIn profile analysis of 138 CPOs, found buyers had spent an average of three years in each of their previous roles, “suggesting the traditional image of procurement people in the same role and organisation for many years is a thing of the past”. 

While 43 per cent of CPOs had switched sectors to get their current job, just 2 per cent came from the public sector, or had worked in it previously.

Other findings included men outnumbering women by four to one; 45 per cent were educated to degree level and just 14 per cent declared further qualifications or accreditations on their profile, but “this finding suggests that procurement professionals are a modest bunch and don’t feel the need to share their qualifications on LinkedIn”.

Daniel Ball, business development director at Wax Digital, said: “It comes as no surprise to me that procurement professionals are making their mark earlier and more confidently than ever, heading to the top younger and faster than directors in other areas of these businesses.”

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