Purchasers must 'speak business'

7 September 2005
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08 September 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor

Purchasers who want to make it to the top must demonstrate both management and business skills, a survey has revealed.

The latest quarterly salary survey from recruitment consultancy Purcon says purchasing skills alone are no longer enough, and that companies require people who "talk a broader business language".

Jerry Smith, Purcon director, said this is particularly important in the most senior positions.

"Traditional skills, such as negotiation, outsourcing and cost control, are necessary but not sufficient to be truly world class.

"A director needs to understand finance, even if they aren't an expert. It is also likely they will require organisational and people management skills," he said.

He added they also have to communicate purchasing's role.

"Not everyone on the board is switched on to purchasing, so they need to express themselves in a way that other senior managers and shareholders understand," he added.

He said staff with these skills command the higher salaries.

The report, which has a sample size of 1,800, said the average salary for purchasing managers had risen 1.4 per cent on the last quarter to £61,375, which represents "continued strong demand for highly skilled expertise".

The report shows purchasing directors aged 36 to 40 are commanding the most for their category and are most likely to progress to global director roles.

The CIPS and Croner Reward annual survey showed purchasers at senior and middle management levels now receive more than colleagues in comparable functions (see News, 26 May).


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