I see many procurement professionals, having 10+ years of experience, being either paid a low salary or becoming redundant. What is the main reason for this? Is it them, the industry, or something else?
In interviews, I ask them what is the reason for getting redundant from their last job. In most cases, the answers are around COVID or a lost project by the company. We could say that it is a cost-cutting exercise almost every time. So, it is not that they have done anything wrong. Plainly, the management decided that leaving this gap will not create a major risk to the business.
The painful truth
And then they start looking for another job while having families to feed and bills to pay. It is a painful topic. People literally accept anything, just to get a job. And hiring managers are not taking them. As they know that this “cheap” employee will move to another position as soon as he finds something better. You may ask “why not increase his salary if he is good”? Everyone who works in a large corporation knows that doubling someone’s salary, no matter how good he is, is a difficult mission.
And then I get a CV – this is a real-life example
In 2012 he was:
- Processing of purchase requisitions/orders within purchasing authority
- Preparation of contract documents
- Invite, assess, and award/recommend suppliers, quotations, and proposals.
- Establish and negotiate contract terms and conditions and maintain supplier relationships.
- Prepare and maintain purchasing records, reports, and price lists.
Ten years, and 4 companies later:
- Daily operation activity related to CAPEX Procurement.
- Reviewing PR and processing end-to-end process.
- Evaluating the vendor quotation on the commercial aspect.
- For any purchase or subcontract work review the CAPEX Supporting analysis based on the data which results in cost savings.
Since he has ten years of experience, he is now looking for a managerial position and a salary increase of 50%. No training, certificates, or diplomas once he left his regular education.
“Ten years of experience, or ten times one year of experience”?
The world is changing, so must you
So, what to do in order not to become one of the people from the beginning of this story?
The short answer is:
“Don’t do your job”.
Only your job.
As one of the professionals put it:
” The world is not going by years not. That world is gone”
A couple of decades ago, you would get a job, work, and leave the organization after 40 years to retire. Probably you would be promoted a couple of times and, at least, become a middle manager.
We need to adapt to and adapt to the constantly changing environment. In today’s world, the company you worked for two years earlier is no longer the same.
- Geopolitical situations change dramatically. Look at only the last three years: COVID, Supply Chain disruptions, and war.
- Work from home. Not only people from your town, or area, are trying to get a job in your company. If you think it is not possible in procurement, read the article “Outsourced procurement”. There are some constraints, but it does work.
- Supply Chain start-ups that automate almost everything pop up daily. If there is a way to get a task done by an AI-powered system, someone has built it already. Which may leave you redundant.
Dig your well before you get thirsty
Every year do a project that has SMART goals. The output will give a beautiful sentence in your CV. It will show that you are proactive, business oriented and someone who is “moving the needle”
Now you may ask what possibly you could do in a settled organization while doing your day-to-day job?
Here are a couple of ideas that are not a huge thing, yet good enough to bring you into the spotlight:
- increased the average contracted payment terms from 45 to 55 days
- Revamped the supplier master, resulting in 100 vendors deleted from the master and reinstating relationships with 55 vendors who have not been used for the past 3 years
- Created a simple tracking system for deliveries, resulting in decreased LPO to the delivery time by 8%
Never stop learning
Learn, upskill, and re-skill. Be a person that improves every year a bit. Not only in procurement. Learn project management, psychology, and business writing. The knowledge that improves you as a human being. In the end, it all affects your performance. OK, probably you will not agree that tailoring, origami, or cooking classes can improve your performance in procurement. However, watch the commencement speech Steve Jobs held at Stanford. His story about calligraphy classes may inspire you to do something out of the ordinary and hope the dots will connect in the future.
Get your certifications. Unfortunately, procurement is not regulated by any law. So, everyone can apply for, and get a job in procurement. Getting certified means that you are serious about the profession. That you are getting your CPD (Continuous Professional Development) points by attending seminars and lectures.
Let others know you
Be active and visible online. No, you do not need to write 2,000-word articles on the latest trends in AI. Share a post. Comment. Connect to people and ask for advice. All of this will show your current (and future) employees that you are someone willing to explore and improve.
I hope this will not happen to you. Still, be ready. If you want a couple of tips on how to create a good CV, take a look at the article “How to get a job in procurement”
“Better safe, than sorry”