Three steps to attracting talented procurement interims

posted by Scott Dance
8 September 2017

As the procurement function continues to evolve, and a shortage of skills within the profession remains, demand for temporary procurement professionals is heightening.

Within the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2017 report, nearly half of employers (47%) revealed they are facing a lack of candidates with the right sector skills and experience when hiring. As a result, many are looking to recruit temporary professionals as an additional resource.

However, interims are also a great support on a project basis, with change and transformation projects being the most in need of interim procurement talent.

Hiring interim staff brings plenty of benefits for organisations too, such as being able to bring in new skills without the long-term budget commitment, sourcing niche expertise quickly to meet project demands, or having a fresh perspective from an outsider which could transform the way your team operates.

So organisations can effectively compete for the talent they need, employers need to know what is most important to procurement professionals working in a temporary role so they can best tailor an attraction strategy.

1. Make sure flexible working is promoted

It’s no surprise that at the top of the list for interims is the flexibility that this type of employment brings. Flexibility to choose the projects they take on and when is important to over half (54%) of temporary procurement professionals, an increase of 10% from 2016. Employers can build on this by promoting, where possible, any flexible working policies your organisation can offer to improve the likelihood of being an employer of choice for temporary professionals.

Interestingly, flexibility of an assignment doesn’t necessarily mean willingness to travel for a role – as only 15% of procurement interims said they would be willing to travel internationally for an assignment (down 10% from 2016), and half would only travel locally. With this in mind, it’s wise to clearly state the location of the role when promoting your temporary positions to missing out on candidates later down the line.

2. Highlight the variation of the role       

Half of procurement professionals told us that the variety of work and experience gained is a key reason they work in an interim role, and luckily there is an abundance of different projects taking place across the profession.

When promoting your interim positions, make sure your hiring manager or recruitment consultant is fully briefed on all aspects of the role, and is able to highlight interesting areas the candidate could be involved in that they won’t get elsewhere, such as strategy, change and transformation. Stressing the range of opportunities within the role could be the differentiator towards a candidate picking your organisation.

3. Ensure your day rates are competitive

Pay is undoubtedly important, and 42% of temporary procurement professionals told us this was vital in the decision making process. Overall, day rates for procurement interims have increased from an average of £456 in 2016 to £505 in 2017. Interims working on strategy and performance projects have the highest average day rates (£781), followed by change and transformation projects (£591) and category management implementation projects (£489). 

With skills shortages fueling competition for certain roles in procurement, it’s essential employers keep up-to-date with market rates to ensure your day rate offering is competitive enough for the role, in order to attract the professionals you need.

For employers, knowing what you want to achieve with an interim role from the outset is an essential step. Secondly, hone the best questions to ask into an interview and ensure your potential interim candidate is fully aware of the advantages, and benefits of working for your organisation.

Scott Dance is director of Hays Procurement and Supply Chain

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