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How Economic Changes are Shaping the Procurement Job Market in the UK

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about 1 month ago

by Wis Amarasinghe

How Economic Changes are Shaping the Procurement Job Market in the UK

How Economic Changes are Shaping the Procurement Job Market in the UK

The procurement landscape in the UK is undergoing significant transformation due to a myriad of economic changes. These shifts are reshaping the roles and skills required in procurement, presenting both new opportunities and challenges for professionals in the field.


1. Increased Focus on Cost Management

Economic pressures, driven by factors such as Brexit, fluctuating energy prices, and inflation, have heightened the need for cost management in procurement. UK companies are striving to maintain profitability amidst rising operational costs.

2024 Insights

Cost Optimisation

Companies are prioritising cost optimisation strategies. For example, Unilever has been leveraging strategic sourcing and supplier collaboration to manage costs effectively. They have successfully renegotiated supplier contracts to secure better terms and improve cost efficiency.

Efficiency Improvements

Automation and process improvements are being adopted to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs. AstraZeneca has implemented automation in their procurement processes, reducing manual efforts and improving accuracy.

2025 predictions

AI and Machine Learning

The use of AI and machine learning to predict and manage costs will become more prevalent. Predictive analytics will help companies forecast demand and optimise inventory.

Strategic Partnerships

More companies will form strategic partnerships with key suppliers to secure favourable terms and ensure supply chain stability.

Key Roles

Cost Analysts, Strategic Sourcing Managers, Procurement Cost Managers.


2. Digital Transformation

The adoption of digital technologies is revolutionising procurement in the UK. Digital tools and technologies are enhancing procurement processes, making them more efficient and data-driven.

2024 insights

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA is being used to automate routine procurement tasks, freeing up professionals to focus on strategic activities. BP, for example, has been integrating advanced data analytics to optimise its procurement and supply chain operations.

Data Analytics

Companies are leveraging data analytics to gain deep insights into procurement activities, optimise supply chain performance, and make data-driven decisions. Tesco has been using data analytics to streamline their procurement processes, resulting in significant cost savings and efficiency gains.

2025 predictions

AI Integration

AI will be increasingly integrated into procurement processes to automate decision-making and enhance supply chain visibility. Shell is expected to expand its use of AI to improve procurement efficiency and supplier management.

Blockchain Adoption

Blockchain technology will see wider adoption for enhanced transparency and traceability in procurement, ensuring secure and verifiable transactions.

Key Roles

Digital Transformation Leads, Procurement Data Analysts, E-Procurement Specialists.


3. Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability is becoming a core focus for UK businesses, driving changes in procurement strategies and practices. Companies are increasingly seeking to integrate sustainable practices into their procurement processes.

2024 insights

Sustainable Procurement

Organisations like Tesco are leading the way by embedding sustainability into their procurement practices, focusing on reducing carbon footprints and promoting ethical sourcing.

Supplier Evaluation

Companies are evaluating suppliers based on their sustainability credentials, ensuring they meet environmental standards and CSR goals. Marks & Spencer, for instance, has a rigorous supplier evaluation process that prioritises sustainability and ethical practices.

2025 predictions

Circular Economy

There will be a greater focus on the circular economy, with companies seeking to minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency. Unilever is likely to further enhance its circular economy initiatives, promoting sustainable packaging and recycling.

Green Procurement Policies

Stricter green procurement policies and standards will be implemented, requiring suppliers to adhere to higher sustainability criteria.

Key Roles

Sustainable Procurement Managers, CSR Procurement Specialists, Ethical Sourcing Advisors.


4. Risk Management

The volatile economic environment, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions, has underscored the importance of risk management in procurement. Companies are prioritising risk management to ensure business continuity.


2024 Insights


Supply Chain Resilience

Building resilient supply chains that can withstand disruptions is a key focus. Rolls-Royce, for instance, is enhancing its risk management practices to ensure supply chain resilience.

Risk Assessment

Thorough risk assessments are being conducted to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in the supply chain. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been proactive in assessing risks and developing contingency plans to mitigate supply chain disruptions.

2025 Predictions


Advanced Risk Management

The use of advanced analytics and AI for proactive risk management will become more common, enabling companies to anticipate and mitigate risks effectively. Diageo is expected to leverage AI to enhance its risk management capabilities.

Diversified Supply Chains

Companies will diversify their supply chains to mitigate risks associated with reliance on single suppliers or regions, ensuring greater stability and flexibility.

Key Roles

Procurement Risk Managers, Supply Chain Risk Analysts, Resilience Coordinators.

Economic changes are significantly reshaping the procurement job market in the UK, creating new opportunities for professionals equipped with the right skills and expertise. As companies navigate these changes, the demand for roles focused on cost management, digital transformation, sustainability, and risk management will continue to grow.


Procurement professionals who can adapt to these trends and contribute to their organisation's strategic objectives will be well-positioned for success in this dynamic field. Staying informed about these economic trends and continuously developing relevant skills will be crucial for enhancing career prospects and making a significant impact within organisations.


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