What does the JOB market look like right now in Supply Chain – Procurement? Ask an expert

June 24, 2013

Industry Perspective with a Seasoned Supply Chain Recruiting Expert: Adele Casciaro.

It’s always really beneficial for candidates and companies hiring in the Supply Chain space to stay current on what’s going on in the employment landscape. To gain business intelligence and get some great background industry information about what really goes on in the Talent war in the very high demand Supply Chain employment vertical can be really valuable.  Learn some insights from Adele Casciaro at Argentus. Fourteen years in the Supply Chain vertical, she is certainly one of the most well connected, tenacious and accomplished Recruiters in the Supply Chain employment industry vertical on the direct permanent hire and Professional Contract staffing across all industries (Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail & Consumer Services etc.). In sitting down with Adele for an informal chat about the SCM recruitment business, she made some interesting observations and comments on the state of the current employment market – yes contract is definitely growing like gangbusters. She highlights some things companies should and need to be doing and how to make better hiring decisions and attract that Top talent in this very high demand field.

“I pride myself on my resourcefulness. The challenge keeps you crisp. It keeps you competitive.”

How has recruiting changed since you’ve been in the business?

I find that companies are taking a much more direct and proactive approach to hiring. The internet, social media, job boards and networking sites are permitting companies to communicate more freely and easily with their target audience and in so doing you routinely see hiring managers take a greater ownership role in their own Talent Acquisition. Now having said that, they want to be able to use their own connections by using the Internet to make informed recruiting comparisons and better hiring decisions. In their recruiting efforts, companies are doing many more exciting things such as developing brand awareness to attract top talent to them. Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media for example are top tools for internal Talent search and the traditional job boards and “uber-dependence” on job posting responses to website ads are taking a secondary place to more proactive hiring methods.

“Third Party Recruiter Partners still find themselves very relevant and in some cases in higher demand than ever before. Why?  Because really good niche Recruiters live and breathe what they do.”

But having said that, with all the strides that companies are making to improve their own search efforts by making them more proactive and interactive, they still remain very much focused on the active candidate market rather than the increasingly important passive candidate market. This is especially true in specific difficult-to-manage verticals like Supply Chain/Procurement. Demand for talent in these verticals is very high and where attracting those who are NOT looking for new positions is critically challenging.

So certain Third Party Recruiter Partners still find themselves very relevant and in some cases in higher demand than ever before. Why?  Because really good niche Recruiters live and breathe what they do. The recruiting cycle is 7/24. Where in-house Talent Specialists need to meet the demands of many different departments and position requirements, niche Recruiters, who choose their area of expertise well, do nothing but focus within that space. (What I mean by this is where the areas of specialisation are truly complimentary to one another – as are Supply Chain & Change Management for example, there is a real ongoing need for that talent). Specialists exist to make those connections, develop those networks and build relationships and foster referrals into that all-important passive candidate market. Knowing and defining who’s who in the market, following star performers – sometimes for years is what it’s all about. Internal Recruiters can only expect to focus a fraction of their time doing what specialty Recruiters do every day.

And that’s why companies come to someone like myself because they need to leverage the depth of that network to fill their requirements. The business intelligence alone that I bring to the table can put a company well ahead in recruiting for top talent where they want the best, and knowing what the best looks like and will cost from a market perspective is invaluable.

“I work hard to work in a more consultative way with my clients and candidates and that works for me.”

What’s your favourite thing about Recruiting?

The relationships with the candidates and with the companies – I encounter fabulous people all the time who set out challenges for me to meet. I appreciate having the satisfaction that someone is entrusting me with something as important as what they do for a living. That’s awesome and I take that responsibility very seriously. It’s great knowing that individuals come back to me several times throughout their career to ask me to help them shape their future in Supply Chain. It means I have done my job because I get a lot of people coming back every few years. They also send a lot of referrals my way which is beneficial to building my network within my space.

The other thing I love about what I do is the hunt. I love to work on those tough-to-fill talent requirements. I pride myself on my resourcefulness. The challenge keeps you crisp. It keeps you competitive. And where results count you can never lose that.

A great search for me is when a company comes to us after having exhausted their own resources and have worked with other generalist Recruiters who do not specialize. My job is to tap into my network and to quickly shortlist a well qualified list of talent to get the role staffed for them. We are great at delivering the gem that wasn’t in anyone else’s network. And we have done it many, many times. That’s the value of paying a fee.

What’s your least favourite thing about Recruiting?

It’s unfortunate that Recruiters and recruiting firms are all looked upon as ‘big talkers and low deliverers’ who do not value the importance of relationships. While there are many poor performers in the industry, there are definitely some really outstanding dedicated Recruiters who know their stuff and they work for highly ethical firms who enrich the relationships with their candidates and clients. For myself, I work hard to work in a more consultative way with my clients and candidates and that works for me.

What does the market look like right now in Supply Chain and Procurement?

It’s definitely a candidate-driven market and I don’t see that changing any time soon. There’s a huge demand for professionals in Sourcing/Supply Chain because companies want to improve the efficiency of how they bring their products to market and keep more on their bottom line, and therefore stay more competitive in the Global marketplace.  I think that companies are doing a good job of retaining their talent although there is a constant threat of companies luring them away for more responsibility and money. We haven’t been hit by a bad economy on the same magnitude as the U.S. or Europe, but there have been ripple effects. The economy has somewhat quieted the market, especially at the higher end, and people are a bit risk-averse to leave their current roles. Contract has certainly taken a huge jump on the Strategic Sourcing side. It’s the new Permanent solution for many companies.

“I think that companies need to understand that candidates in Supply Chain are in such high demand. Their job statuses change quickly and companies need to act accordingly.”

What types of jobs are really hot right now?

We are getting a lot of demand at the Director level in Supply Chain. Vendor Managers and Category Managers are always sought-after. Information Technology is certainly always a category within sourcing that is always in high demand and that hasn’t changed. Change Management – Continuous Improvement has been very big recently. The continuing demand and growth for Contingent Staffing is just phenomenal. After all by 2030 it is said that 40% of the workforce will be contract and Supply Chain will be right up there for “super-temp” staffing. There is a significant shift in mindset where people are becoming specialized consultants. We’re seeing lots of people shifting their permanent careers in that way.

Talk to me about job titles. How important is a title from a candidate’s perspective?

That’s split down the middle. Some people don’t put much importance in a title and see scope and management and opportunity in a role. But to most people, a title does hold a level of importance as it is reflective of the progression of their career. Some managers in smaller non-top heavy organizations are equivalent to directors elsewhere in multi-layered global companies. A title isn’t always reflective of its responsibility. I always caution people to look beyond the title and investigate. For every person that does that there’s one that can’t make that leap. It’s a matter of investigation. Once most people find out more about the role’s scope and responsibility and progression, the title doesn’t concern them anymore.

Finally, what do you think companies need to know to help them make better hiring decisions?

I think that companies need to understand that candidates in Supply Chain are in such high demand. Their job statuses change quickly and companies need to act accordingly. Companies have got to be much more competitive from a timeline perspective when they’re scheduling interviews, especially if there are multiple interview stages. It’s a very tight market out there and companies need to come out with offers which will be competitive so as to capture the best people. And, while money will always talk louder than anything else, total rewards should be revisited – most people with over seven years experience want four weeks vacation and they can get it. Companies should also look at offering better work/life balance and consider being open to flex hours and working remotely. These are different things that candidates are looking for today. Organizations have to do their due diligence and homework about being able to provide a competitive overall experience from start to finish.


1. Send an email to recruit@argentus.com and please make sure to include a resume and make sure to let me know where I can reach you.

2. Check out my personal website: It includes contact info for how you can get a hold of me to apply or refer a candidate or just chat further about this or other positions.

3. Visit me on LinkedIn and connect: We‘re always looking to add to our network of great candidates on LinkedIn. Connect with us to stay up-to-date with the hottest opportunities in Supply Chain and Procurement. Even though we each have our specialty focus, we’re a completely integrated team with a shared network of passive candidates and exciting, career-making roles.

4. Follow us on Twitter: @ArgentusTalent: Follow us for up-to-the minute Hot Jobs, career and resume tips, and Supply Chain and Procurement news.

 5. Reach out to your network for referrals: There’s a saying in the recruitment business: Every great candidate knows 5 more great candidates. So you might not be actively looking, or this job might not be perfect for you, but you probably know someone who would be a great fit for this position or one of our jobs.

If you put us in touch with someone who we end up placing in a permanent position, you can earn up to $1500.



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