Hiring in Supply Chain and Procurement: Strategic procurement and supply chain roles in demand in 2023

Sujatha Manogaran, Senior Manager of Engineering, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Robert Walters Malaysia

In 2022, supply chain disruptions were common amid market uncertainties in Europe and continued pandemic-related restrictions in various countries. Logistics and distribution segments were less constrained in some markets compared to the year before.

As a result, Malaysia saw steady hiring activity in consumer-driven sectors such as FMCG, retail, and pharmaceuticals in 2022.

“Strategic procurement talent continued to be in demand for companies implementing robust category management and functional sub-specialisation of their procurement teams,” shares Sujatha Manogaran, Senior Manager of Engineering, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Robert Walters Malaysia.

Read on as Sujatha shares her expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for supply chain and procurement professionals in 2023.

Increased hiring activity in strategic procurement function

In 2023, there will be increased emphasis on hiring for positions that seek to modernise and automate transactional activities. “Beyond usual operational support positions that are constantly in demand due to talent movements, strategic positions within procurement and supply chain management will increase steadily as companies look to pivot departments to function as critical business partners,” says Sujatha.

Demand planning managers, sourcing managers in category management, and logistics managers are among the top three most sought-after roles in the sector.

“They will continue to be in high demand as more companies strive to adopt a more holistic approach for mid- to longer-term planning to achieve overall business goals,” she shares.

Professionals with experience in category management will also be sought after, as companies split procurement teams to focus on strategic and operational processes respectively.

Advice on retaining talent

Employees have shifted mindsets and reassessed work-life priorities in recent times, as the spotlight on mental health and wellness gain more traction across the world.

Sujatha encourages companies to be supportive of employee well-being initiatives and to provide a conducive work environment, as it can have a “multiplier effect on employee productivity”.

Companies should support employee well-being and create a conducive workplace as it will greatly boost productivity.

Skilled talent will look to companies with business stability or strong growth prospects. Many of them would also seek clarity in their own career progression and prospects, she adds.

“To avoid surprise exits, companies can have periodic pulse checks or employee engagement surveys to assess changes to employees’ motivation levels and gain insights on what would be improved on at the workplace,” says Sujatha.

Companies are also advised to consider hybrid work flexibility and employee wellness benefits, in line with employees’ and candidates’ expectations.

Growth in salaries expected in 2023

Salaries for supply chain, procurement, and logistics roles can expect to see nominal growth of 3-5% in 2023. “Professionals changing companies may be able to attain salary increases of 18-20%, depending on their level of experience and industry demand of skillsets,” shares Sujatha.

She adds that offering increments above the industry average may allow hiring managers to negate any counteroffer negotiations and successfully secure talent for critical job functions. 

Find out more

Request access to our 2023 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about the latest hiring and talent trends for Supply Chain and Procurement professionals in Malaysia.