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14th Jan, 2022

Nick Tagg
Nick Tagg
Job Title
Regional Manager

The sector has faced multiple challenges as a result of Brexit and Covid restrictions, the combination of which contributed to a shortage of both materials and professionals.

With consumers still shopping predominantly online and businesses looking to maintain their supply chains, there has been a much higher demand for procurement professionals – especially in logistics.

Last year, we saw bus drivers joining the sector ‘in droves’ to become HGV drivers – likely seeking higher wages and a lower health risk from reduced public interaction – yet there is still a shortage of lorry drivers, which has put strain on the sector.

To combat some of the challenges presented by the pandemic, most companies have created a secondary supply chain to prevent reliance on far eastern suppliers, and now sourcing from more European suppliers. The main focus for businesses this year is to strengthen their supply chains to ensure they can adapt more easily to further disruptions.

Alleviating skills shortages

In a snap survey of over 500 professionals, we found that 72% of employers have struggled to find candidates with the right skills, with many lacking experience in shipping, import, export, and customs. To offset this skills deficit, we would advise employers to invest in training and upskilling to develop existing employees or candidates who have the right potential.

The most important skills, according to respondents, were teamwork (68%) and communication (63%) – anyone can possess these soft skills and be trained in the more specialist or technical proficiencies. Upskilling not only creates a more proficient workforce, but also one in which people are more engaged with their company and feel valued by their employer.

Large salary growth across the UK

Salaries have grown by an average of 1.7% across the UK in the sector. Many regions have surpassed this, with several reaching over 10% average salary growth. This has been caused by the high demand for candidates - leading businesses to counteroffer to retain their existing staff and increase salary offers to draw talent away from other companies.

The three areas of the UK which witnessed the greatest salary growth this year are Northern Ireland (14%), East Anglia (12%) and Wales (10%). In each of these areas, businesses are facing challenges around fuel prices, skills shortages, and limited access to materials. The number of people accepting counteroffers has caused a deceleration in the job market – with many employers offering up to £10,000 salary increases to persuade their best talent to stay.

According to our data, procurement analysts have witnessed salary increases in every UK region. In several regions their salaries have risen by at least 4% – with some increasing as much as 12.9%. Projections for next year indicate that salaries will only keep rising.

Benefits to offer in 2022

We asked professionals which benefits they received and which benefits they wanted. Many of these figures didn’t match, meaning many people are receiving benefits they don’t want or use and are missing out on the ones they would prefer. Discounts on brands and company mobile phones are the least attractive but are far more widely received than wanted.

By far, the most popular benefit to employees is also the one they receive the most, which is paid annual leave – over 80% receive it and over 70% listed it in their top five. The next-most appealing benefits were health insurance (51%) and performance bonuses (48%). The survey suggests that the reception of health insurance matches its demand, while performance bonus is only the fifth-most widely received benefit.

Surprisingly, the popularity in remote and hybrid working as a benefit slightly dropped off. This is either because of ‘Zoom fatigue’ or just because it’s become an expected part of any role and no longer seen as an additional benefit. We can see that a much higher percentage of people have access to it now than those who said it was a top-five benefit for them.

Our salary guides have more data and specialist recruitment insight like this to help both businesses and jobseekers stay competitive and make informed decisions.

Download our 2024 procurement & supply chain salary guide now.