Procurement and supply professionals are in high demand in the current job market, according to the annual CIPS/Hays North America Salary Survey Report. The report found that not only is talent in this field difficult to find, salaries are have risen an average of 4.6% last year compared with the national average of 3.3%.

The survey, which was conducted in January 2021 and includes responses from over 6,000 professionals globally who work in procurement, found the average salary for all procurement and supply professionals with roles such as supply chain manager or senior category manager was $118,333 in the U.S. The average salary for procurement professionals of all roles and responsibilities was $96,361. Additionally, over half (64%) of recruiters reported they struggled to find staff.

Soft skills were ranked in high demand by employers, with negotiation skills (55%), supplier relationship management (47%), internal stakeholder management (41%), and communication (49%) specifically noted.

According to Malcolm Harrison, group CEO, CIPS, “Although technical skills and procurement qualifications remain important for individuals and their career progression, it is the soft skills of leadership and stakeholder management that deliver on business goals.”

A gender gap in procurement salaries was also revealed by the survey, with men’s pay coming in 15% higher than women’s. But an awareness of the value of equality, inclusion, and diversity was strong, with the majority (90%) of respondents saying a diverse and inclusive environment is a more open and trusting place to work, and also improves staff retention. Most respondents also said inclusivity brings greater creativity and innovation to teams (83%) and would be a more attractive environment for prospective candidates (90%).

According to Bill Michels, vice president of CIPS Americas, the recognition of procurement professionals represents the “tremendous challenges” supply managers have overcome to keep organizations on track to produce goods and services this past year. He believes this will continue as procurement starts to shift toward managing costs. “It is very gratifying to see the strong recognition of the value procurement teams bring to an organization,” Michels said.