Is your team in good shape? What skills are you missing?

The CBI advises that 9 out of 10 employees will need to reskill by 2030, to avoid a sustained unemployment crisis and to support the future UK economy.

No matter what sector you work in, competitive advantage in today’s economy has never been more critical and maximising your team’s output is imperative. But with the pandemic affecting many organisations growth plans, there is a clear need to find alternative ways of upskilling or supplementing your teams bandwidth.

We recently reported on how many people have become naturally risk adverse and have decided to stay in post if their role is secure and choosing not to move jobs. The question is, when is the ideal time for employers to reward loyalty, invest in their people, increase their teams skills, capability and future career potential within their own business?

Ultimately, every Procurement & Supply Chain leader’s success relies on having a great team behind them.

It’s therefore vital to take time to regularly assess the teams’ personal development plans, their remote working challenges and understand their individual career plans better. This identifies any skills gaps, builds a higher performing team and matches their capability to the current challenges, as well as mapping future workforce planning needs. To do this you first need to identify the skills most important for your team.

Once you are clear on your needs, the biggest challenge is assessing your people against the organisational requirements quickly. There are very few specialist ‘Procurement & Supply Chain’ competency assessment tools in the market and not all are fit for purpose, as they’re sometimes reliant on workshops or external consulting teams measuring this for you. However, in response to the pandemic these online solutions are now available, find out more.

Upskilling your existing team will help you understand the short, medium and longer term gaps and how to manage them.

Upskilling is an effective strategy, understanding the priorities across the team and engaging in these training areas first will give you a quick impact on the teams performance and also identify the real gaps, where you will need to recruit.

Hire the right people with the right skills.

Taking the time to identify the skillsets you are missing, will greatly enhance your ability to find the right person for the role, first time round. You can also utilise the same competency assessment tools as part of the interview process, ensuring candidates possess the right capability attributes. Getting it right first time can save you a lot of time and money in the long-term.

There is also the option of interim support.

If your needs are more urgent and the time to recruit and train someone prove impractical, then an Interim solution could solve the problem. Bringing experienced interims in who can ‘hit the ground running’ can certainly be the quickest and most straight forward solution. And better still, a good interim will bring experience to the table which can help upskill other members of the team. Whilst it may seem a short-term fix, it can prove to be a good solution for special projects.

Our recent Covid recruitment impacts survey found that prior to Covid only 15% of organisations used ‘Procurement & Supply Chain’ functional capability assessment as part of their interview process, this has now risen to 70% who are either using it now, or plan to use it.

Put simply – upskilling is essential to any team. Make no mistake, those who do not invest will risk being left behind.


If you need support in developing your strategy and approach in this area or would like a copy of the full report from our recent Covid recruitment survey for further insights, do not hesitate to reach out to us at ProSearch Recruitment Solutions, the Procurement & Supply Chain recruitment and training specialists.

Advertising doesn’t always work – is there a better way?

Although we are seeing an increase in permanent job openings, many companies are struggling to find the right candidates.

In 2022 with more positivity and job opportunities, many organisations are finding it difficult to recruit.

Whilst internal recruiters may have access to a lot of prospects, very few good people in secure work want to switch jobs at the moment. Many organisations are therefore finding it increasingly difficult to attract the right candidates and the realisation that advertising simply doesn’t always work.

When it comes to finding the best talent, or the right specialist skills what do you do? Advertising is evidently not working all the time, so how do you ensure you have the right proactive search & selection strategy for the passive candidates in the market? More so than ever, recruiting the right person, the first time is paramount, so how do you win the race for the best talent and attract the right skillsets, if people are rightly risk-averse?

What’s the solution?

Many factors attract people to leave their ‘safe’ secure role and seek a new career, flexible working, training, development, career progression, culture, financial and job security, to name a few. But none of these will matter if candidates are not aware of your company’s recruitment & career USP’s.

By getting to know clients and their requirements in-depth, we can really focus on the top-tier candidates for each role, whether they be passive or active. A professional and informative approach and the fact that any hiring company have retained a specialist recruiter, gives a great first impression to candidates, presenting them as an organisation that allows serious candidates to want to find out more.

Most candidates seeking a new career move are now increasingly selective, so it’s important to position your business and the role correctly as you may get only one chance to make the pitch to your preferred candidate. Actively searching for the right talent match with the right promotional material, 360 capability assessment and other selection tools, also ensures candidates know they are a good fit, providing them with the confidence to make the move. This careful approach reduces the risks for the candidates and allows companies to access the best active and passive talent.

Good specialist recruiters know their market inside out. Through years of working with procurement & supply chain professionals globally, we have access to extensive networks of passive candidates seeking their next career move, most of whom will not actively apply to job adverts. Furthermore, they trust their preferred agents to be able to assess the right roles and represent them properly to ensure they are not lost in the recruitment process.

Hiring great talent does not got any easier, but we can help

Reach out for a confidential discussion and we can guide you through a range of innovative and flexible support options that will help you solve that challenge.


  • Contingent Permanent Search – fee on result
  • ‘Accredited’ Interim resource
  • 360-Degree Procurement & Supply Chain capability assessment – online testing to support the interview process
  • UK, US and International market expertise
Returning to work with gaps in your CV?

Many people’s career plans were hit hard over the last 18 months, affected by furlough, redundancies or simply less permanent or Interim jobs available during lockdown.

We regularly talk with highly experienced people who are struggling to understand how to best present these gaps in employment on their CV’s and this can be a problem many people have never faced before.

How do employers view employment gaps?

Employment rates are climbing and more job opportunities are available, competition is high as people in work feel greater confidence about going back on the market. So, what is the best approach to cover gaps in your CV in a competitive jobs market?

Firstly, this can simply be a confidence issue, given what has happened over the last 20 months the age-old stigma of career gaps is being viewed much more sympathetically by recruiters and currently this is a ‘candidate market’ with more job opportunities than active applicants, which means in the short-term this can be to your advantage, so act quickly.

We have rarely seen anything like 2020/21, so this will not be a hindrance in job searches. According to the ‘International Labour Organisation’, an incredible 255 million jobs were lost globally due to the Covid pandemic therefore employers expect to see gaps in employment for this time period. 

‘What did you do, when you were not working’? 

Hiring companies will be looking for more information about what you did during any gap in employment and this is where you can turn the situation into a positive advantage.

Did you learn or develop any new skills? Gain new qualifications? Undertake any charity or volunteering work? Work as an NHS covid jab volunteer? Use the time to exercise more? Or become a home-schooling teacher to your children. All are incredibly valuable.

A few key tips to keep in mind
Be Positive

It would be easy to fall into the trap of discussing gaps in employment from a negative viewpoint. Try to take any of the positives that came out of the time, in terms of new skills developed and focus on these, which will speak volumes about your character.

Be clear about your availability

Immediate availability can be a big attraction to employers so make sure this is clear on the CV.

Be Honest

Recruiters are very understanding about employment gaps so don’t cover it up. Make sure you take the opportunity to sell your life experiences and self-improvement activities during Covid.

Employers expect your CV to present you in the best possible light, so take this opportunity to portray as many positive aspects about yourself as possible, whether its competency based or general life skills. After all skills are what all employers are after! Read

Most good employers will look past Covid employment gaps, so show how you demonstrated your resilience during the pandemic, either by remaining productive or seeking meaningful experiences which can tip the advantage in your favour in what is likely to become an increasingly competitive employment market.


We work with clients to find, assess and recruit the best procurement and supply chain talent for your business. 

Get in touch with one of our advisors to discuss how we can help you and your business stand out from the crowd. We partner with organisations in a transparent and open approach to ensure they have all the external market knowledge and information needed to make the right hiring decisions.

No longer ‘remote’ but flexible & hybrid working is the norm

The challenges of working remotely are not proving difficult enough to change the direction of travel.

With hybrid flexible working the way forward, nearly 97% of participants surveyed favour blended hybrid home/office working and over 86% see hybrid working as the long term future of work.

Positively, over 57% are not concerned about returning to the office. However, it’s evident that office based working will now be on a planned basis, with the general consensus being 2 or 3 days a week, allowing more productive work outside of face-to-face meetings.


Although the remote working challenges are relatively similar to our 2020 survey, twelve months later the concerns about social isolation appear to be reducing slightly (14% less) as working patterns get more embedded. The biggest issue is communication with colleagues, while online planned meetings and video conferencing can work well, the ability to drop in to quick conversations to solve problems can be difficult to plan remotely, so online chat tools are being increasingly used.


Better organisational planning, working from offices in a way that allows quality meetings to take place, when people can meet to solve business challenges, improve capability through training and gain more beneficial social interactions, whilst also benefitting from more time to work remotely to maintain increased productivity.


2022 ProSearch Charity

Our charity this year is very close to our hearts.

JET was formed after Flt Lt Jon Egging lost his life whilst completing a display with the Red Arrows at the Bournemouth Air Festival in 2011. 

Jon was a great supporter of young people, helping them to overcome adversity. The trust was formed to raise funds to support young people to get back on track and realise their full potential in life.

ProSearch will be supporting JET in a series of fund raising sporting events in 2022 and will keep you posted throughout the year so you can get involved.

In the meantime, if you would like to donate £1, with the potential to win £25,000 every week to support this well deserving charity, find out more about the JET Lottery.

Find out more about JET and how you can get involved


Predictions for 2022 and how did we do in 2021?

Here are the 5 predictions we made for the Procurement & Supply Chain community in 2021 and our view for 2022.

1) An Increase in ‘Permanent’ Recruitment   Correct

Our 2020 annual survey confirmed that over 54% of organisations planned to maintain or grow their permanent teams in 2021.

Although the start to 2021 was slow, after the spring, permanent recruitment rose significantly based around the need to deliver key projects such as; Cost reduction, widening the supply base, reducing supply chain risk, developing robust supplier management, improving supplier partnerships to support innovation, sustainability projects, improving spend analytics and supply chain monitoring.

We expect this positive view to continue in 2022, however the challenge for a lot of organisations is and will continue to be finding the right talent. From our current experiences, internal recruiters are struggling to fill strategic appointments as they do not have the market reach or candidate network. We are increasingly working with talent acquisition teams to help them leverage their brand with ‘hard to find’ candidates.

2) Growth in ‘Greenfield’ leadership roles  ✓X Nearly

There are a surprising number of organisations in the SME and Mid-Cap market who still do not have a procurement team, or have limited access to strategic procurement & supply chain leadership.

It was evident from our own experiences in 2020 that more greenfield leadership roles were coming to market. We expected to see more of these in 2021 with a focus on transformation, strategy and building new teams.

In truth, this was partially correct, however the continued uncertainties equally led to an increase in management consulting support delivering some of these improvement projects. We expect an upturn in ‘greenfield’ procurement leadership roles in 2022.

3) Changes to our work-life balance  Correct

For some, the opportunity of a better work-life balance moving forward is one of the few positives to take away from the pandemic. Again, there will be a different approach in each sector.

The way organisations have adapted to remote working has seen a fundamental change in the landscape, to the extent that some will never go back to the 5-day ‘in the office’ working week. However, there will be a need to balance this, especially as all members of the team need to consider mental health awareness, training, guidance and personal interaction, not all of which can be delivered by Zoom or Teams.

In 2022, offering remote or blended hybrid working patterns will ease recruitment challenges by widening the talent search parameters for many organisations.

4) More uncertainty in the short-term  Correct

The key learning from this year, even though we’re optimistic for 2022, is that we must not get ahead of ourselves too soon.

There is a long way to go in the recovery stage and Procurement & Supply Chain functions must continue to focus on preparation for the unpredictable and ensuring their strategies are robust and this will be as important, if not more so in 2022.

This may help the increase in Interim consultancy opportunities now the challenges of IR35 are understood better. These will either be directly with clients, or as part of established management consultancies who are building greater flexibility in their delivery capability with the development of Interim Associate panels, to flex their capacity when needed.

5) Functional Visibility & Value to grow  Correct

Prior to Covid, most procurement and supply chain functions largely operated in the background, only receiving limited attention in the national media, or people’s day-to-day lives. Now however, the nation has an opinion on everything from international supply chain risks, to public sector procurement.

This elevation into the national psyche requires business leaders to ensure they hire and keep the best talent, whether it’s permanent, Interim, or external consulting project support, to improve bottom-line performance, manage risk and develop the ‘sustainability’ future proofing strategies that consumers now expect to be visible as part of any businesses brand values.


As we bring the year towards a close, we wish everyone a healthy 2022 and the resilience to any shifts in the pandemic, to help deliver strong economic recovery and greater business opportunities. 



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