Liam Osborne on Procurement Recruitment in London

Leading Procurement Head's London practice, Manager Liam Osborne reflects on his 9 months recruiting within the market. Liam identifies current trends, reviews market activity and discusses misconceptions around talent.

I joined Procurement Heads in 2017 to lead our exciting growth strategy within Central London, and after nearly 9 months in the role, I was keen to share my observations on why recruiting in this market shows plenty to be hopeful about moving forward this year.

I have nearly 6 years of recruitment experience behind me, and the great thing about operating within the Central London market, is the opportunity to engage and partner some of the biggest and most cutting-edge companies in the world. I specialise in sourcing for Procurement Director, Head of Procurement, Category Manager and Procurement Manager roles and I’m always eager to build relationships with the best Talent in the industry.

One of the things that has struck me since focusing on the London Procurement market, and from having conversations with Procurement Leaders on a daily basis – is the continued battle for companies to attract the best talent. A belief that a company’s household name or FTSE rating is enough to ensure a steady stream of talent through the door is a bit of a misconception. London is one of the densest business hubs on the planet, with hundreds of companies vying to standout and appeal to a finite ‘quality’ candidate pool. But the process of targeting, processing and onboarding the best candidates is not as straightforward as some may lead you to believe.

“Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the people they need,” explained Seamus Nevin, the Institute of Director’s Head of Policy Research in a recent interview. “Access to skills is currently one of the highest concerns for companies.”

One trend we have noticed in the market this year is the interest in Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) and Supplier Risk specialists. An area traditionally seen as part of an end-to-end procurement role, is now being regularly introduced as a standalone function. But finding people with this skill-set, not least those that want to move away from strategic procurement, is easier said than done. One Procurement Director who I met with recently, claimed that finding Supplier Risk specialists is like “looking for millennium bug engineers in 1999.”

So I am firmly of the belief that the reliance on consultancies like Procurement Heads will continue to remain high. Why? Because more and more companies are evolving their understanding of recruitment. We work as trusted partners with our clients and are not just seen as a contingency service when all else fails.

And that’s why I love what I do. The sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes from building great relationships with clients and truly adding value is great.


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