Author: Jonathan Webb - Categories: Talent
My colleague Steve Hall recently argued that procurement has an image problem. The function fails to attract the best and the brightest, as high talent ‘floods’ past to other more glamorous business roles.
As long as I have been in procurement, my work has been accompanied by the sound of grumbling buyers complaining that their organisation does not value their input.
Procurement is rarely represented at board level; the company seldom operates graduate schemes for the function; the most able tend to be reseated in other externally-facing positions. How many CPOs become CEOs, they ask?
There is perhaps something inevitable about this moaning – especially given that I am writing from a British perspective – but the question is whether this is right.
There is limited quantitative evidence to confirm arguments either way. The preliminary results of our salary survey seem to suggest that procurement directors are paid the equivalent of their peers in other functions.
Although procurement leaders may not find themselves on company brochures, they are rewarded in perhaps the most important of all areas: the piggy bank. Not only in terms of base salaries, but also in bonus terms. There are some CPOs that receive handsome packages, even for those organisations where procurement stands low on the horizon.
The PIU’s research into talent management found that many senior leaders came from outside the function. We found one large corporate that deliberately recruited 80% of all its category managers from outside procurement because “buyers don’t have the skills”.
We shall look into the extent to which these levels trickle down to lower levels of procurement in the next in the series.