Supply Chain Surge – vacancies up +48% across the UK within energy and utilities

The increases – revealed by new data from specialist recruitment company Robert Walters’ Hiring Trends Report – result from a rising demand for sustainable energy solutions ahead of a global energy transition.

Supply Chain vacancies across the UK have witnessed a +48% surge within the Energy & Utilities industry so far in 2024.

The increases – revealed by new data from specialist recruitment company Robert Walters’ Hiring Trends Report – result from a rising demand for sustainable energy solutions ahead of a global energy transition.

Neil Morgan, Associate Director at Robert Walters comments: “Companies may already be aware of the vital role played by efficient supply chains in meeting with the demands of a global energy transition – however, with continued climate threats and governments around the world tightening the reins around business sustainability and greenwashing – demand for supply chain and procurement professionals within this space is swelling.”

Capital hotspot, regional drops

Already this year, procurement vacancies in London are up 16.5% on 2023’s monthly average – helping to balance the regional picture of decreases in the North (-10.6%), Midlands (-4%) and the South (-3.14%).

Despite regional drops – London’s buoyancy has helped total national vacancies to retain a slight uptick – whilst the capital’s highest vacancy volumes are also being noted within energy & utilities – up +102% on last years’ monthly average.

Mike Stevens, Senior Manager in Supply Chain and Procurement at Robert Walters (London & South East) comments: “The increases in London project a more positive outlook for the rest of the year. Whilst the regional decreases come as a result of employers holding onto talent whilst the labour market continues to grapple with unsteadiness caused by a weak economy – something we expect to balance out in the second half of the year.”

Rises in Renewables

A recent whitepaper by the World Economic Forum found that just eight supply chains are responsible for half of the total global emissions – unsurprisingly, one of the key triggers for the surge of vacancies within Energy and Utilities is the rising demand within renewable energies.

Within renewable energy services, job ads for professionals with procurement skills have skyrocketed +301% compared to April 2023 – as have those in supply chain management – bulging +255%.

Only this month, Apple Inc.’s supply chain made a public commitment to using 100% renewable energy by 2030 – Apple together with footwear giant Nike, are also spearheading a ‘Clean Energy Procurement Academy’ aimed at equipping companies with the technical skills to support large-scale supply chain decarbonisation. (source)

Neil comments: “Company supply chains are one of the biggest polluters – and many companies across industries are beginning to seriously consider their options when it comes to renewable energy – this means hiring professionals with the skillsets to put the wheels in motion on their climate and carbon-free goals.”

Sustainability pressures

Professionals in supply chain and logistics with sustainability skills have seen conservative increases of +17% in total UK vacancies over the last year – with Glasgow (41%), Manchester (37%) and Birmingham (22%) showing the biggest demand for this talent.

Online skills platform Udemy released data showing that supply chain courses have seen an increase of 29% – with sustainability and ESG-related topics remain on top of the list of in demand professionals skills this year.

Neil comments: “Experts in sustainable supply chains are increasingly becoming key figures in driving cultural change in companies towards more responsible business – as well as promoting long-term sustainability solutions.”

AI and Automation

Gartner recently found that 82% of CEOs in supply chain intensive industries plan to ramp up investments in digital capabilities across their enterprise this year.

Unsurprising, within supply chain and logistics skills in warehouse automation (+20%), drones (+45%), AI (+86%) and digital strategy (15%) are all up on 2023.

Industry leaders like Amazon – who have already installed fulfilment centres where tasks in picking, packing and sorting items are completed by robots – highlights the increased speed and efficiency of operations at the same time giving weight to the risk of displacement for professionals in the industry.

Neil comments: “Increasing demand for faster deliveries, rising labour costs, supply chain disruptions from natural disasters or geopolitical conflicts and growing pressures to reduce carbon emissions – all place additional pressure on companies to grasp digital transformation to optimise services as well as professionals to upskill in digital capabilities to remain hireable.”


Purchasing currently commands a fifth of all vacancies within supply chain and logistics – stabilising as a key area of growth and simultaneously highlighting the evolving demand for procurement specialists within supply chain.

Not only that – but job ads featuring purchasing negotiation skills are up over a third (+36%) on April last year – highlighting the increasing need for controllers of company’s outgoings to support budgets.

Neil comments: “Purchasing is a role which carries the strategic foresight to push the boundaries of supply chain management – a clear competitive advantage for businesses looking to expand and optimise operations whilst also keeping a keen eye on costs.”

Neil concludes: “Supply chain and procurement is an industry at the forefront of constant evolution and one that is particularly sensitive to market conditions – so its more important than ever that professionals focus on training and upskilling in critical skills areas such as digital capabilities, sustainability and strategic business skills to ensure long-term attractiveness in a market in-flux.”


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