How to gain a career in procurement and supply management
If you’re looking for a career which is varied, intellectually challenging and financially rewarding, procurement is a very good choice.
Why should you consider a career in supply management
Put simply, supply chain and procurement professionals are in demand. This high level of demand is reflected in the type of salary you could command.
The average salary for procurement and supply professionals in the UK is currently £58,960. That’s over £12,000 more than the average was last year. This increase reflects a trend we’ve seen in the procurement profession over the last six years. These averages do vary by location of course, with London and the South East seeing the highest average salaries. To find out more about the average salaries in your area, have a look at the Interactive Salary Map published by CIPS.
Because of that high level of demand, there’s also a lot of scope for you to develop and progress. It really is up to you to decide where you’d like your career to take you. Starting as an assistant, apprentice or graduate, you could work your way up to the very top of an organisation. There’s also scope to explore self-employment as a consultant, if that’s something that appeals to you.
Procurement and supply careers offer a lot of variety. There are organisations within the public, private and non-profit sectors who all need employees with the kinds of skills and experience you can offer. A career in procurement and supply could also span multiple industries depending on where your interests are.
You’ll see roles in procurement and supply such as Head of Procurement, Purchasing Manager and Logistics Assistant. You can find more examples of job titles and opportunities on Supply Management Jobs.
If you’re someone who loves tackling and solving problems, thinks in a logical and systematic way, enjoys planning, and can communicate with lots of different people, procurement is a career in which you can really thrive. The ability to lead and motivate a team is also important if you wish to progress to leadership positions.
Routes into the procurement profession
There are lots of different routes into the profession. The route you take will depend on where you’re starting from.
If you have few or no qualifications, you might want to consider an apprenticeship as a way in. This is a popular route into a lot of careers as apprenticeships combine study with having a job, which means you can earn money while you learn. Apprenticeship opportunities are advertised on Find an apprenticeship if you live in England, Apprenticeships Scot if you live in Scotland, Careers Wales or the Apprenticeships section of nidirect if you live in Northern Ireland.
If you have a degree, you could look at a graduate scheme or junior procurement position. The most sought-after degree subject areas are business administration, logistics, project management, business and management, supply chain and mathematics. However, if you studied something else, there are still ways into the profession.
If you are planning to move into procurement from a different area, you’ll need to think about how well your existing skills and knowledge will transfer into your new career. One way you could do this is to choose one of the current vacancies on Supply Management Jobs and map your skills against the job description. Where are you meeting their requirements? Where are the gaps?
Once you know what the gaps are, you can work on filling them. CIPS offers a wide range of qualifications and training opportunities, for whichever stage you’re at in your career. As the world’s largest procurement and supply professional body, you’ll know that the qualifications and training you complete will be widely recognised.
Search for your next role with Supply Management Jobs
Supply Management Jobs is the jobs website for Supply Management magazine and the official job board for CIPS, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. You’ll find a wide range of job vacancies in all areas of purchasing and supply, from junior positions to chief procurement officer (CPO) roles and plenty in between.
As well as vacancies, you’ll also find articles full of advice about how to craft the perfect application such as this one. You can also use the Job alerts feature so that you know as soon as there’s a job which meets your requirements.