By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
The CIPS Procurement Salary Guide 2022 for Sub-Saharan Africa paints a clear picture of just how valuable procurement and supply professionals have become to organisations in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world.
CIPS is the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. As the war in Ukraine rages on, inflation spikes, energy, and fuel costs rise, and new supply chain disruptions overshadow post-pandemic marketplace recovery, so the strategic function of procurement in mitigating the impact of these challenges has become greatly valued, the report indicates.
Eswatini is no exception. Indeed, the Kingdom of Eswatini government is investing heavily in the sector. In October, the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA), in partnership with the African Development Bank Group (ADBG) and the Ministry of Finance, launched the public procurement technical assistance project.
The ADBG’s Chongo Chituplua says the project will provide targeted technical assistance and knowledge management to the Agency, enabling it to deliver on its mandate of “maintaining effective and transparent public procurement”.
Analytical work to inform legal and institutional reforms will also be undertaken. A significant development is that the Ministry of Finance is moving to allow entity tender boards to function on their own, a shift away from the existing government tender structure which only allows the tender board to grand public sector tenders.
The CIPS Procurement Salary Guide 2022: Sub-Saharan Africa shows just how vital supply and procurement professionals have become to countries in the territory. Dr Sara Bux, Managing Director of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) for Southern Africa, shared that 81% of those surveyed for the 2022 Procurement Salary Guide in the Sub-Saharan regions believe the perception of procurement has improved in the past year, with 79% saying they feel valued within their organisation while being engaged from the time a project starts (77%).
The Salary Guide published by CIPS in partnership with global recruitment and human resources multinational Hays, the report provides valuable insights into trends in the procurement profession based on survey findings of over 7,000 industry role players from around the world.
Notably, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the appreciation of procurement and supply chain management professionals’ roles is increasingly reflected in their salaries, one of the factors monitoring how much the profession is valued in the country. This year, 49% of respondents received a pay rise in the past 12 months – an increase on last year’s 40% – while 69% received a bonus in the past 12 months.
The average annual salary for all procurement and supply professionals in the region is now $43 703, up from $34,677 in 2021. At the top end of the scale, advanced professionals are earning $82,964 a year. Despite a challenging economic environment, such buoyancy and resilience in salaries are encouraging and reflect the increasing status and value of the procurement function.
Bux also points out that 82 per cent of respondents feel that directors and heads of departments understand the value procurement brings to their organisation, both at a strategic and talent level. The positive sentiment in the sector means there has never been a more opportune time for procurement professionals to grow and flourish.
“The light the pandemic has shone on the strategic importance of procurement has also highlighted the skills needed to thrive in the role and drive further value,” Bux says.
“Excellent negotiation skills underpin successful procurement and are rated as key by employees. It is also the skill most in demand from hiring managers. Ensuring your organisation provides training in negotiation skills will not only be important for retaining talent but is also key to tackling the challenges that lie ahead for the profession.”
Procurement professionals are acutely aware of these challenges. Fifty per cent of those surveyed believe managing risk in the supply chain will be crucial, while the same percentage considers budgeting restraints to be a potential hurdle. Managing costs while maintaining quality (45 per cent), recovering from the pandemic (44 per cent), and monitoring suppliers’ sustainability practices (34%) also feature among 2022’s challenges.
In terms of the profession itself, Bux is concerned about the gender pay gap. “Improved salaries are heartening, but the gender pay gap remains – and has indeed widened this year to 7.0 per cent (from 1.0 per cent in 2021). There is still much work to be done to eliminate it.”
Other important takeouts from the 2022 CIPS Procurement Salary Guide include: 74 per cent of employers request MCIPS (Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) as a preference when recruiting: Sixty per cent of employers would give further consideration to candidates with FCIPS (CIPS Fellows).
About 34 per cent of employers have struggled to find the right talent: There is at least an indication of a steadily improving trend, as the proportion has dipped from 36 per cent in 2021 and 38 per cent the year before that. About 31 per cent believe their work-life balance has improved as a result of Covid-19: This is based largely on 33 per cent in the private sector and 28 per cent in the public sector saying they are happy to work remotely, whether fully or part-time.
About 47 per cent want support for study/ career development as a benefit: While 47 per cent of respondents would like support for study/career development, only 23 per cent receive it.
“Make 2023 a year of growth by brushing up on essential skills for procurement professionals. View our 2023 Skills Training Calendar and start booking now,” advises Bux.