24 April 2003 | Robin Parker
Pay for procurement staff is rising faster than that of their peers in IT, personnel and finance functions, a major CIPS-backed survey has revealed.
But junior and assistant-level purchasers are paid more than 10 per cent less than their peers, leaving them comparatively worse off than in 1992.
Average purchasing pay rose by 3.4 per cent over the year, compared with the 2.7 average for other professions, according to the second Purchasing and Supply Rewards survey by CIPS and Croner Reward Group.
It offers the first year-on-year comparisons of purchasing pay and follows last year's inaugural survey, which showed that directors' salaries had risen by 123 per cent in a decade.
The average purchasing director now earns £63,700 - short of the £76,000 salary for IT directors but well ahead of their counterparts in finance, human resources, sales and marketing - none of whom average more than £60,000 - and 6.2 per cent above the average for all professions studied.
Mike Campbell, director of business development at CIPS, said organisations were increasingly seeing and rewarding the value the profession could bring.
"It's an endorsement of purchasers' professionalism as much as anything, and their ability to not only rise to the challenge of the increased pressures on their organisations, but to get their contribution recognised."
He attributed the poor pay of junior staff to the changing structure of the profession, in which technology was controlling everyday administrative tasks, and to the fact that graduates tend to enter at a higher level than previously.
Vivienne Copeland, director of Croner Reward Group, said: "It boils down to the skills in demand, and mid to senior posts are better rewarded than ever. Junior positions will continue to be suited to those either not going for a career in purchasing, or for those looking for a quick stepping stone to the next level."
· Public-sector purchasing salaries are catching up with those in the private sector, according to recruitment consultancy Purcon's latest supplement to its quarterly survey. Average salaries among third-tier purchasers (which include senior buyers and executives) were only £18 behind their private-sector counterparts.
Jerry Smith, director of Purcon, said the public sector was getting more serious about making procurement a profession.