Record Numbers of Procurement Professionals are Quitting. Why?

Is it the Great Resignation? Is it the state of the supply chain? Is it the myriad opportunities out there? We dive deeper into the phenomenon that’s eroding our function

With inflation soaring, petrol prices not far behind, and interest rates also on the rise, you’d think that procurement professionals everywhere would have bigger things to worry about than their jobs. But no, nope, that’s not true at all, according to new research conducted by LinkedIn. 

According to data released by LinkedIn to Bloomberg, in 2020-2021, the average number of supply chain managers who left their jobs, called the ‘separation rate’, increased by 28%. Chillingly, this figure was the highest it had ever been since LinkedIn started tracking data five years ago. 

So, why is this occurring? 

Some may say it’s the Great Resignation, but those of us in procurement know that it’s far more complex than that …


If you’ve been working in procurement or supply chain for the last few years, it will come as no surprise to you that things have been outrageously tough. Between shuttered suppliers, clogged ports, and skyrocketing transportation costs, as well as the bigger question of whether we can still rely on China as the world’s manufacturer, it’s been a challenging few years to say the least. 

There’s also significant research now emerging that shows that those who worked from home throughout the pandemic are now particularly burnt out. 

This is due to the fact – and many procurement professionals will relate to this – that our jobs were particularly demanding throughout the pandemic, but we also had to cope with domestic work and potentially the mammoth task of home-schooling our children in that time. 

The situation led to many employees feeling more stressed, anxious and overwhelmed than they had ever been, and they are yet to recover. This is no doubt contributing to high turnover for procurement professionals. 

Higher salaries

Many developed countries are experiencing high inflation right now. For example, the inflation rate in the UK is currently at 9.1% (a 40 year high), 6.8% in the US, and 5.1% in Australia. Naturally, inflation has put upward pressure on wages. 

As a result – and fairly so – many procurement professionals are looking around to see what they can get. 

And when it comes to pay increases, it looks like just about everyone should be getting one (and if you aren’t, you most certainly should be looking around). According to recent research conducted by recruitment firm Hays, skills shortages in procurement are creating a ‘once-in-a-career’ market, with a record 87% of procurement employers planning to increase salaries this financial year. 

Outdated processes 

Relatively speaking, burnout and the search for higher salaries are not ‘new’ reasons why procurement professionals look for new roles, although they have intensified of late. 

According to Bloomberg, one surprising reason why procurement professionals are searching for new roles is because they are tired of manual, outdated, and generally frustrating processes. 

In procurement, we’re no strangers to processes, including many that are due for an overhaul. However, often our dislike of such processes isn’t enough for us to leave our roles … until now, that is. Many procurement professional reported that they were tired of doing repetitive tasks that could be automated, and that efficient processe s was a characteristic that they looked for when applying for new roles. 

Are you one of the 28% of procurement professionals who have moved roles recently? Were there any other reasons that contributed to your decision to move? Let us know in the comments below, and let us know in our exclusive survey.