Is it all for one and one for all in your office?

30 July 2010
I’m currently writing about the state of the job market in procurement, and it seems the opinion of most recruiters is the outlook is beginning to brighten. I thought this was interesting as I flicked through a book sent to me called Austerity Business by Alex Pratt. One of the chapters that caught my eye is called “Musketeers and mercenaries”. It discusses the two types of staff you will find when leading a team in a recession. On one side you will find those who, when faced by a crisis, “will offer blood, sweat and tears to see things through”. These are your musketeers. On the opposing side are those “wedded to their pay cheques and benefits packages, utterly lacking in that vital esprit de corps” – the mercenaries. During the recession many buyers were willing to make sacrifices – altering working hours, giving up their perks or pay cuts – for the good of their own position, their team-mates and their company. Even the mercenaries might have been more willing to pitch in for the common good, such was the perilous state of the economy. Pratt believes employees still need to demonstrate the behaviour of a musketeer in an austere business environment. And with the recovery not yet entrenched, companies will still need to rely on the extra efforts of their staff to help them through. But procurement is a thinly spread profession, with a shallow pool of good people who can command (although somewhat reduced) premiums for their services. As companies restart their recruitment efforts, demand (and probably remuneration) for these people will begin to creep back up. It might now be time for employers to think carefully about how they can hold on to their buying musketeers – or risk them turning into mercenaries.
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