The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has long been a hub of economic activity and in recent years, its emerging markets have become increasingly prominent on the global stage. As these markets expand, so do the opportunities. One area that is experiencing significant growth is procurement. This crucial function within businesses ensures the sourcing of goods and services necessary for operations, making it integral to any industry.
In this article, we explore the current situation and the future of procurement careers in MENA's emerging markets and the exciting opportunities ahead.
The latest survey from CIPS on the current work situation in MENA's procurement sector paints a positive picture of career prospects in the region. Notably, salaries for procurement professionals have continued their upward trajectory, with an impressive 49% receiving a raise in the past year. This increase, averaging 14%, not only reflects the value attributed to the profession but also underscores the recognition that effective procurement practices play a vital role in maintaining quality while managing costs. This positive trend showcases the growing understanding of factors such as ethical sourcing, which contribute significantly to an organisation's reputation.
In addition to financial rewards, the survey highlights the evolving priorities of procurement professionals. Career progression has emerged as a top consideration after salary, with 74% of respondents emphasising its importance when evaluating new job opportunities. Moreover, the emphasis on an organisation's reputation and commitment to ethics and sustainability, both rated at 72%, showcases the sector's growing focus on socially responsible practices. This shift towards ethical considerations not only aligns with global trends but also indicates a positive transformation within the MENA procurement landscape.
The survey also sheds light on the changing dynamics of work-life balance. With more than a third of respondents reporting improvements, the MENA region is witnessing a positive shift in balancing professional and personal lives. This change is further facilitated by the prevalence of flexible working arrangements, notably the popular choice of home or remote working for 34% of respondents. The flexibility offered by these arrangements is crucial in accommodating diverse responsibilities, emphasising the importance of adaptable job roles that focus on outcomes rather than rigid schedules.
Furthermore, the survey shows the rising importance of hybrid working models. 85% of professionals recognise the positive aspects of hybrid working, with 58% acknowledging its role in improving work-life balance. The flexibility offered by these models not only enhances job satisfaction but also reflects the diverse needs of the modern workforce. Respondents, by and large, prefer the freedom to choose hybrid working arrangements, emphasising the significance of personalised work structures that cater to individual preferences and responsibilities.
The procurement landscape in MENA's emerging markets is undergoing a profound transformation. Traditionally, procurement was seen as a back-office function, primarily focused on cost reduction and supplier management. However, the role of procurement professionals is now expanding to include strategic decision-making and risk management. As businesses in the region become more globally integrated, the demand for skilled procurement specialists is on the rise.
As with the UK, EU and USA, one of the key drivers shaping the future of procurement careers in MENA is technology. The advent of digital tools, artificial intelligence and data analytics has revolutionised how procurement operates. Automation of routine tasks allows professionals to focus on strategic activities, such as supplier collaboration, contract negotiation and market analysis. Procurement specialists adept at leveraging these new technologies are in high demand, which presents some exciting opportunities for talented procurement professionals interested in moving to the MENA region.
MENA's emerging markets are increasingly integrated into the global supply chain. This integration presents both challenges and opportunities for procurement professionals. Navigating complex international trade regulations, understanding diverse cultures and managing geopolitical risks are essential skills in this scenario. Procurement experts who can effectively manage global supply chains and create robust contingency plans are invaluable assets to businesses operating in MENA's emerging markets.
The startup ecosystem in MENA is thriving and many entrepreneurs are disrupting traditional industries. Procurement professionals are essential partners for startups looking to scale their operations. Procurement specialists with an entrepreneurial mindset can identify innovative suppliers, negotiate favourable contracts and optimise the supply chain, thereby enabling startups to achieve sustainable growth. Embracing innovation and creativity in procurement processes is a key trend and professionals who can think outside the box are highly sought after.
Cultural understanding is a critical skill in the diverse and multicultural MENA region. Procurement professionals need to navigate various cultural nuances, communication styles and business etiquette to build successful relationships with local and international stakeholders. Those who possess cultural competence can foster trust, negotiate effectively and create synergies between different parties, enhancing the overall efficiency of procurement operations.
The future of procurement careers in MENA's emerging markets is both promising and dynamic. The evolving landscape needs professionals who are adaptable, technologically proficient and culturally aware. As businesses continue to expand and diversify, the role of procurement will only become more pivotal. If you would like to find out more about procurement career opportunities in MENA contact our team today. We are connected to some of the most exciting businesses in this region and we would love to help you find your dream role.
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