A Guide to Procurement for Gen Z

Posted on Wednesday, July 5, 2023 by Barbara RobertsonNo comments

What is Procurement?

Procurement is the process of purchasing goods and services for an organisation, whether it's a large corporation, government agency, non-profit group, or local government. While the specific items procured may vary, the overall objective remains consistent: to find the best products and services that meet the organisation's requirements while staying within budget.

For instance, as a procurement professional, you might be responsible for acquiring ingredients like truckloads of onions or bushels of potatoes for a food manufacturer. In a large company, your role could involve negotiating contracts for IT services and procuring components such as circuit boards or large quantities of nuts and bolts for product manufacturing. Additionally, procurement encompasses the acquisition of office supplies, furniture, logistic services, and all other necessities for running an organisation.\

The term "procurement" is sometimes used interchangeably with "purchasing" or similar terms, but the essence of the job remains the same. Ultimately, your role is to assist your organisation in obtaining the necessary resources for success.

Procurement career path

Procurement offers diverse and rewarding career paths for individuals seeking dynamic roles within the realm of supply chain management. As a procurement professional, one can embark on a journey that encompasses strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management, contract negotiation, and overall supply chain optimisation.

Starting as a Procurement Analyst, you can gain valuable experience in data analysis, market research, and supplier evaluation. This role involves assessing supplier performance, identifying cost-saving opportunities, and contributing to the development of sourcing strategies. With time and experience, one can advance to become a Procurement Specialist or Category Manager, responsible for managing specific categories of goods or services, negotiating contracts, and building strategic partnerships with suppliers.

For those seeking leadership roles, becoming a Procurement Manager or Director offers opportunities to oversee the entire procurement function, manage a team, and collaborate with cross-functional stakeholders. These positions involve strategic planning, budgeting, and developing long-term procurement strategies aligned with organisational goals. Additionally, procurement professionals can explore specialized paths such as Sustainable Procurement, e-Procurement, or Global Procurement, depending on their interests and industry demands. The procurement career path is constantly evolving, providing room for growth, continuous learning, and the chance to make a significant impact on an organisation's bottom line.

In procurement, you'll collaborate with various colleagues and departments in your company. As you progress, you can advance your career and pursue more demanding positions with better pay.

Entry level titles

  • Purchasing Assistant
  • Purchasing Analyst
  • Procurement Analyst
  • Junior Buyer
  • Buyer
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Sourcing Agent
  • Sourcing Specialist
  • Category Specialist
  • Procurement Specialist

Your organisation may add junior, assistant, associate, or something similar to indicate an entry-level position or indicate you’re new to a higher position. 

Mid-level titles

  • Purchasing Manger/Director
  • Senior Buyer
  • Senior Purchasing Agent

Senior level titles

  • Director
  • Head of Procurement 
  • Head of Purchasing 
  • Chief Procurement Officer 

Procurement jobs in the UK are usually salaried managerial roles that don't offer overtime pay. These positions involve collaborating with individuals from different departments to assist them in acquiring necessary resources. While a bachelor's degree is typically required for entry-level positions, this requirement may be flexible if you possess relevant experience.

Purchasing-specific degrees are not common, but degrees in finance, economics, business administration, supply chain and logistics, engineering, or related fields are often sought after.

Skills for Procurement

Irrespective of your education, these essential skills will ensure your success in the procurement field:

  • Analytical Thinking
  • Research
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Project management
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Technical skills
  • Relationship building
  • Business partnering
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Risk Management
  • Commercial skills
  • Continuous improvement
  • Strategic thinking
  • Contract management
  • Market knowledge
  • Social Procurement/ESG

Is procurement the right path for Gen Z?

Procurement may not be a career choice that people typically aspire to while growing up. However, if you're a recent college graduate seeking your first or second job, you might find yourself in a procurement position and eventually build a career in it. Interestingly, only about half of the individuals working in procurement actively pursued a job in this field; for others, it was an opportunity they stumbled upon and accepted.

If you're a Gen Z’er seeking a career rather than just a job, consider venturing into procurement. It could serve as a gateway to building a lifelong profession.

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