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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