What can 2017 tell us?

What sense can we make of 2017 as business leaders, entrepreneurs and Recruitment specialists? I, for one, remain optimistic about the economy and Procurement Heads growing market share, but that’s something I’ll come back to later.

Earlier this month data from the Office for National Statistics showed unemployment is forecast to hit a 42-year low of 4.2%, with another 600,000-people forecast to be in work by 2022. Rising demand, particularly in Europe, has helped the UK manufacturing sector, which expanded for the sixth consecutive month in October, helped by record car production. Even better; Tom Knowles, Economics correspondent for The Times, reported that ‘employers are starting to increase their employees’ pay in the face of growing recruitment challenges’ in November.

However, Philip Hammond’s November budget saw growth figures all being revised down from 2017-2021, but his hands seem somewhat tied by the constraints of the UK’s political system. As Jonty Bloom, Radio 4’s Business Editor, espoused at a recent breakfast briefing I attended, this budget is tantamount ‘to kicking a can down the street’. Productivity is still the major challenge for the UK economy, and whilst a burgeoning services and luxury goods sector has bolstered exports, the single biggest unknown will be Brexit. The British economy and its relationship with the EU is a complicated machine and it will be difficult to change.

According to a survey of 2,000 supply chain managers conducted by CIPS, many European businesses with UK suppliers are already sourcing replacements elsewhere in the EU. Nonetheless if the lack of detail around Brexit is a worry for leaders, James Hurley of Raconteur ably summarised that ‘with these changes in contract terms, the identity of suppliers and the prospect of trade tariffs all looming as a result of Brexit, procurement’s role has rarely been so vital or under the spotlight’.

So how does all this translate for Procurement Heads? In many ways this has been a landmark year; 5 years since we launched the business and having grown organically to the talented and successful team of 10 we have today. I’m incredibly proud of the relationships we continue to cultivate, and December saw us sign our 100th PSL agreement – a clear sign that working in partnership can create great results. 2017 has seen us run a fantastic suite of events, from our 5-a-side football tournament in April, Hobbs Fashion Evening in May, through to our Leadership Event in November. We continue to partner Macmillan Cancer Support through a number of these initiatives but also through our industry-leading schemes, the Heads Up and CV Aid. I’m also delighted to have launched the Big Interview series and the hard work and talent of Caroline Clarke has helped make this a reality.

In other news we had a Procurement Heads birth with Hugo Lambert coming into the world; we hope to welcome Emma back in 2018, and Helen Harling found her travelling legs and is currently working her way round the world. Again, we’d be delighted to see her smiling face in 2018. More recently we’ve significantly grown our London team to meet growing demand in the Capital, a development that myself and Martin Smith remain very excited about, all of which will see us increase our turnover by over 70% in this financial year.

I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved this year, and would like to thank each and every person who has contributed to our successes. I continue to be surprised and delighted by our growing client base, and am optimistic about things to come.

Merry Christmas, a very Happy New Year, and all the best for 2018!


Here are some of the 2017 highlights from the Procurement Heads team:

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