Singapore Procurement Job Market in 2019

Posted on January 27 , 2019. 
By Ben McDonald

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Consistent with the general employment outlook in Singapore, the procurement market enjoyed a healthy 2018. Hiring activity was up on previous years, but there was a notable shift in the industries that are hiring, the shape of the roles being recruited, and the skills required to fill positions in the current market.

2019 presents some interesting opportunities for the Singapore procurement job market. We will continue to see a transition in industries that employ procurement professionals. There are some clear indicators of what the future holds in terms of hiring industries, the shape of roles being recruited and the types of employers who are active.

Some LinkedIn stats as of January 2019

  • At present, there are approximately 9,381 professionals with procurement and purchasing titles in Singapore, with 1,488 open to new opportunities.
  • The largest organisations with procurement positions by full-time employee (FTE) are Unilever, P&G, HP, IBM, NTUC, ST Engineering, Shell, DSTA and Phillips with some notable omissions from the same time 12 months ago in resources and financial services.
  • The most active companies who hired procurement professionals in Singapore over the last 12 months include Redmart, Lazada, Amazon, Dyson, ST Engineering, Exxon Mobil and Telenor.
  • Some 1,136 procurement positions were filled in Singapore over the past 12 months, accounting for just over 12% of the market.
  • The top universities for procurement professionals in Singapore include: (1) National University of Singapore (NUS); and (2) Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
  • The top fields of study for professionals in the industry include business administration/management and logistics, materials and supply chain management.

The 5-year shift:

The Singapore procurement landscape and outlook are a very different prospect compared with this time five years ago.

  • The most notable observation is the decline in procurement roles within certain industries, including financial services, consumer goods and resources (up- and down-stream oil and gas, mining and ancillary products and services business). This is countered by growth industries including eCommerce, logistics, distribution & technology, life science and hi-tech.
  • We have seen a significant shift as the procurement function has developed and grown in influence over the years. Historically, many procurement professionals in Singapore have come from an engineering academic and professional background. However, today there is a far greater uptake of business and specialised supply chain graduates in the profession.

Future predictions based on past 12-month observations

  • I believe the typical profile of the most active hiring businesses over the past 12 months offers a good indication for the immediate future for growth industries – such as e-commerce, technology, logistics, transportation and distribution, hi-tech and life sciences.
  • The market will become more fragmented by industry profile with a more even spread in size of procurement organisations and fewer large-scale regional and global procurement hubs.
  • Those that possess the skills to bring together supply chain and operations insight, execution of data interpretation with the utilisation of technological and digital advancements will be in unprecedented high demand, particularly in the Singapore market where we are witnessing significant investment by clients.
  • The number of positions in Singapore that require a high level of technical knowledge within a specific sector, commodity or category type will continue to grow.
  • The profile of procurement positions in Singapore will become more strategic with closer ties and influence in the business and where possible, operational and tactical procurement roles will continue to disperse to the greater region, in particular within South East Asia countries.

Some considerations:

For your procurement organisation:

  • What is your organisation doing to engage the passive candidate market that makes up over 15% of the overall market?
  • What is your organisation doing to retain and pipeline the best talent in such a fluid employment market with record levels of employment?
  • What is your organisation doing to position itself for the shift in the skill profile of key procurement roles?

For your procurement career:

  • How are you managing your career in this rapidly changing and dynamic job market?
  • How are you ensuring your skills are refreshed in line with future requirements for the procurement function?

Ben McDonald


Consumer & Industrial Markets


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