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Supply chain execs get more respect—and pay, study finds

A survey of procurement specialists also points to renewed respect for purchasing and distribution functions.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The pandemic has generated new respect for purchasing and supply chain executives—along with a selective but outstanding bump in pay, according to a new study.

The survey of executives specializing in procurement and supply-chain management across all U.S. industries found their average compensation rose last year to a mean of $96,361.

Fewer than half the purchasing participants were given a raise. Those that did saw their pay increased by an average of 4.6%. That compares with an average increase for all job holders last year of 3.3%, according to the study.

The report was a collaboration between the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIP) and Hays PLC, a recruitment firm specializing in the procurement business.

The January canvass of purchasing and supply-chain executives found considerable variation in pay within that field by position. While “advanced professionals”—presumably the heads of procurement departmentsaveraged $154,736 in 2020 compensation, individuals in an operational rather than a managerial capacity took home $61,392.

Pay reached those levels because of a confluence of factors, both negative and positive, according to Hays.

 Almost two-thirds (64%) of companies represented in the survey said they struggled to find procurement specialists who had the needed purchasing experience and skills. Topping the list of attributes prized by companies as they entered 2021 are negotiation abilities (cited by 60%), communication (49%) and supplier relations management, or SRM (43%).

The report says jobholders also benefited financially from an improvement in how their roles and benefits to their employers were perceived. The survey found that 72% believed their boards of directors and heads of departments outside of procurement now understand the contribution that supply-chain specialists can make to a corporation.

“The procurement and supply profession has gained even more credibility and respect as the world wakes up to how essential resilient supply chains are,” Malcolm Harrison, CEO Of CIP, said in a statement.

The report suggests that purchasing and supply-chain management will remain in the spotlight this year. The survey found that 45% of procurement specialists believe their top challenge this year will be working through the supply-chain problems that were created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those challenges have been pronounced for the restaurant industry. Operators and distributors say the business still faces extreme shortages of such supplies as chicken wings, other proteins and cooking oils. They note that many food processors have still not resumed their pre-pandemic output of ingredients and supplies for the foodservice industry.

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